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IJ^ mCHMONI), VA., 1863-64, 


<^ OK Co., 






■ 1864. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court in and for the Eastern District of 


Z (>•) ^- 


l}^ ^nwu ird^nz 0if Sljil^bielpl^iiJ, 





o o i<r T E ]sr T s 



1863. July: — The Libby Prison— Early Experiences — A 
Rainy Day — Our Commissariat — Unpleasant Reflections — 
Scrubbing Day, and Wliite-wasbing Day — The Lyceum, 
and the Libby Chronicle — A Lecture on Mesmerism and 
its consequences 21 


August :-T-Killing Time — The New Arrival — Experiences of 
a " Fresh Fish" — Episodes of Daily Life — A Prayer— Star- 
vation— About a Tub— A Mock Trial. ... 39 


September : — Amatory — The Catechism — Nocturnal Sports 
— The Fate of a Union Officer, charged with being a Spy — 
Distribution of Rooms 59 


October : — Preparing for Winter— Sports — The Elections — 

A Yankee Trick " . . 71 




Novembek: — Various Forms of Melancholy — Confederate 
Wails— Surgeons and Chaplains— Supplies from the North— 
The Great Conspiracy 81 

December : — Shadows — Musical — Christmas — New Year's 
Eve— A Story about Six Eggs — Another Story. . 93 


1864. Januaby: — New Year's Day — Speculative and Re- 
trospective — Lugubrious — Escapes from the Prison — Belle 
Isle 123 


February : — A Sermon from a Candle — The Prison World — 
Crowded Condition of the Prison — Cooking Experiences — 
Letters — The Grand Escapade. .... 147 


March : — Reveries — Matter of Fact — Matrimonial — Consola- 
tory — Rumors — Huckster Officers — Confederate Currency 
and Prices — " Tunnel on the Brain" — A Search — Boxes — 
Gen. Kilpatrick's Raid— The Gunpowder Plot — Paroled — 
Conclusion. . • 177 



rjlHE following notes were written, ana the sketches 
wliich illustrate them were drawn, not with 
the object of presenting a sensational picture of the 
military prisons of the Confederacy, but simply to 
while away the idle hours of a tedious and pro- 
tracted captivity. Such scenes were therefore pre- 
ferred aS; owing to their entertaining character, 
were best calculated to dispel the gloom of the 
prison, and those were treated as briefly as possible, 
which would have only added to that gloom, by a 
prolonged contemplation of Iheir miseries. A jour- 
nal, or connected narrative, would have proved too 
monotonous ; I have endeavored, however, so to ar- 
range the order of events described, as to preserve a 

sufl&cient degree of chronological consistency. My 



chief aim in these humble pages has been to perpet- 
uate for my companions in captivity, a compliance 
with their request, a truthful record of our prison 
experiences, — a record which, while it cannot fail to 
bring back upon our hearts some of the gloomy 
shadows which once darkened them in the prison- 
house, may also renew upon our lips the irrepressi- 
ble smiles which were wont to wreathe them at 
times, in spite of hunger, suffering and despair. 

F. F. 0. 

Continental Hotel, Philadelphia, ) 
May, 1804. j 


(11) i 


T?ARLY in the morning of the 3d of July, ISGB. 
■'-^ a long, straggling column of Federal prisoners, 
captured during the preceding day on the battle-field 
of Gettysburg, was marching on the Chambersburg 
road to the rear of the R^el lines. With the gray 
dawn We had seen General Lee and his staff making 
their way to the front ; and soon after, the fearful 
cannonading commenced which opened the contest of 
that memorable day. On reaching Willoughby creek 
we were halted, and lay down to rest in the woods. 
We were only three miles from the field of battle, and 
the incessant reverberations of the artillery, and the 
rapid discharges of musketry, reached our ears with 
a continuous roar, which told how bloody was the 
struggle, and how well disputed the ground. The 
following day we heard rumors of the repulse and 
defeat of the Rebels, and unmistakable indications 

2 (13) 


soon led us to believe that our captors were in full 

On that 4th of Jul}^, so glorious for our arms, our 
column was once more started, drenched with the 
torrents of rain which fell without intermission. The 
Rebel trains and artillery were moving rapidly in the 
direction of Chambersburg. Before we had proceeded 
far we were joined by the prisoners captured during 
the engagement of the 1st, making an aggregate of 
about two thousand. We were marched steadily over 
the rough mountain roads until after midnight, having 
proceeded as far as Monterey Springs. It would be 
difficult to give a description which could do justice 
to the trials of that weary night-march ; we were 
pressed forward at the utmost speed of which we 
were capable, and many, unable to keep up with the 
column, fell exhausted by the road side. Along with 
us were long trains of wagons, and a motley assort- 
ment of vehicles of all kinds, impressed from the 
farmers of the neighborhood, loaded with the Rebel 

The next morning, before we had time to partake 
of a generous breakfast prepared for us by some of 
the inhabitants of the place, we were again ordered 
into line, and resumed our march towards Hagers- 
town. We had proceeded but a short distance when 


we heard rapid firing in our rear, and we flattered 
ourselves with the hope that we might yet be rescued. 
The cannonading, we ascertained, was by the artillery 
of General Kilpatrick, who was harassing the Rebels 
in their retreat, and endeavoring to cut oS their 
trains. We could distinctly see the shells from the 
Federal pieces burst in the vicinity of the Monterey 
House. This day's march was also a trjdng one ; 
worn out, and most of us with torn shoes and bleed- 
ing feet, we were urged on at our utmost speed, over 
slippery, stony roads, and through mud, that in^many 
places was knee-deep. We were, besides, compelled 
to follow close behind a wagon train, which brought 
our column to a halt in every hundred j^ards. 

Late in the evening we passed through Waynes- 
boro, and continued marching all night without being 
allowed an hour of rest or sleep, and urged on in 
many cases, at the point of the bayonet. 

At nine o'clock next morning we reached Hagers- 
town, but were hurried on through it to within one 
mile of Williamsport, Md., where we were allowed a 
few hours of repose. The suffering among us from 
fatigue and exhaustion, owing to the fearful rate at 
which we had been marched, and from hunger and 
wet, and in many cases from wounds, may readily be 


All along the road from Hagerstown to Williams- 
port we noticed indications of General Kilpatrick's 
cavalry dash into Hagerstown. Our dead cavalrymen 
were lying in the road, and on either side of it, com- 
pletely stripped of their clothing, and dead horses, 
broken caissons, and other remains of the conflict, 
were scattered here and there. 

The excessive rains which had set in on the 4th, 
had not yet ceased, — it poured in torrents day and 
night. Whilst we lay near Williamsport, rations of 
flour and beef were distributed among us. We were, 
of course, compelled to do our own cooking. We 
roasted the beef on the end of a stick, and mixed the 
flour into a paste with water, and baked it on stones 
in front of the fire. This wretched condition of our 
commissariat continued unimproved during all the 
rest of our journey through the valley of Virginia. 

On the 8th we were marched through Williams- 
port to the rope-ferry, on the Potomac. The river, 
swollen by the recent rains, was not crossable at snay 
of the neighboring fords. This rope-ferry was, at 
that time, the only means the Rebels had of crossing 
the stream. The crossing was a slow and tedious 
process, though no doubt more so to the Rebels than 
to ourselves, for we felt that after the Potomac 
should be between us and our army there would be 


no hope of rescue, and but few opportunities for 

We had been told that once on Yirginia soil our 
march to Staunton would be made by easy stages, 
and that the provisions furnished us would be more 
abundant, and of better quality. Neither of these 
conditions, however, was realized. All the stores 
which could be collected were needed by their armj^, 
and even our guards fared but little better than 

By the 11th, we had reached a place called Wash- 
ington Springs, five miles from Winchester. Here 
we first saw, in a copy of the Richmond Enquirer, 
the official report of the surrender of Vicksburg to 
General Grant. A round of hearty cheers went up 
from our column, and we pushed forward on our 
weary journey with a lighter heart, in spite of shoe- 
less and bleeding feet, for we knew what jo}^ was 
thrilling, at that moment, the great Union heart of 
the nation. 

On the 13th, a portion of General Imboden's com- 
mand took charge of our column. The guard 
consisted of Captain McNeil's Partisan Rangers, 
Captain Patterson's Companj^ of Cavalry, and the 
61st Yirginia State Militia. 

We were repeatedly compelled to countermarch 


through the fields, the streams which traversed the 
road being much swollen with the recent rains ; in 
passing Newtown, the turnpike was impracticable, 
owing to this cause, and we were forced to wade 
waist-deep through mud and water. 

By the 16th, we had reached Harrisonburg, having 
marched successively through Middletown, Strasburg, 
Woodstock, Mount Jackson, and New Market. Three 
miles beyond Harrisonburg we were shown a tree 
with an inscription upon it, which marks the spot 
where the Rebel, Ashby, of cavalry fame, fell the 
previous year. 

In our march through the several towns we had 
often drawn upon us the wrath of the inhabitants, 
especially the women, who more than once taunted 
us with remarks not calculated to prove very grati- 
fjdng to our ears. Here and there, however, a Union 
kerchief was waved to us from some solitary window, 
and sometimes a fair face would bestow upon us a 
commiserative glance, or a sweet voice would bid us 
be of good cheer. 

On the morning of the 18th, our jaded column 
entered the town of Staunton from the Winchester 
road. We were a squalid set, way-worn and weary, 
and covered with the dust of long foot-travel ; with 
haggard faces, and uncombed hair; some carrying 


their wounded arms in slings ; many with bare and 
lacerated feet ; and all bearing the unmistakable 
impress of the days of hunger, exposure, and fatigue, 
through which we had just passed. We had been 
marched on foot a distance of nearly two hundred 
miles, through the mud and the heavy rains, through 
the dust and under the scorching summer sun ; for 
near three weeks we had lived chiefly on flour-paste 
and water ; we had been swept along in hurried 
marches with the retreatiug columns of the Rebel 
Army through Maryland, had slept night after night 
under pouring rains, and had finally walked the 
whole length of the great Valle}^ of Virginia, over 
its stony hills and through its swollen streams, to the 
sources of the Shenandoah. It was a beautiful 
country through which we had just passed, but it 
had presented no charms to weary eyes that were 
compelled to view it through a line of hostile ba3"0- 
nets ; we felt but little sympathy for the beautiful ; 
on our haggard countenances only this was written : 
" Give us rest, and. food." 

On the evening of the same day, our sorry column 
was marched through the streets of Richmond from 
the depot of the Yirginia Central Railroad to the 
Libby Prison. The gloomy and forbidding exterior 
of the prison, and the pale, emaciated faces staring 



vacantly at us tlirongli the bars, were repulsive 
enough, but it was at least a haven of rest from the 
wear}^ foot-march, and from the goad of the urging 
baj^onet. Had we known that we were entering this 
loathsome prison-house not to leave it again for 
many, many weary days and months, more than one 
heart would have grown faint with a mournful pre- 
sentiment, for there were among us some who were 
doomed never to recross its threshold as livino- men. 


18 6 3. 

^w\v^\ — The Libby Prison — Early Experi- 
ences — A Eainy Day — Our Commissariat — • 
Unpleasant Eeflections — Scrubbing Day and 
AVhitewashing Day — The Lyceum, and the 
Libby Chronicle — A Lecture on Mesmerism, 
AND its Consequences. 




"TTTE are now fairly launched upon the mysterious 
^ ^ ocean of Libby life. Before embarking, how- 
ever, we have had our pockets well searched by the 
prison warden, and everything deemed to be of a 
contraband nature has been confiscated. Most of us 
possessed but little that warranted the search, having 
bartered away, to obtain food, all our dispensable 
articles, during our sojourn in the valle}^ of Yirginia. 
Soon after crossing the Potomac, southward bound, 
there were numerous melancholy instances of a 
breakfast made on a pocket-knife, a dinner off a felt 
hat, and a supper off a pair of boots. One officer 
had subsisted for three days on a Colt's revolver. 

The room we are in is long, low, dingy, gloomy, 
and suffocating. 'Some two hundred officers are lying 
packed in rows along the floor, sleeping the heavy, 
dreamless sleep of exhaustion. But there are some 
who cannot sleep ; they are thinking of the camp, of 


home, and of friends ; the}^ are quarreling with the 
fortune of war ; they are longing for the termination 
of a loathsome and hateful captivity, which has only 
just begun. B3"-and-by even the most wakeful yield 
to the imperative demand for rest, and with one arm 
for a pillow, have stretched themselves out on the 
bare floor. 

The shadows, as they thicken on the prison walls, 
seem to be spreading over these long files of stirless, 
outstretched* men, the black pall of a living death. 
It may be many days, many months, before the free, 
pure air of Heaven fans their temples again, and 
before the cheerful sunshine once more traces their 
shadows upon the green, scented grass ! 

The day has dawned clear and full of sunlight. I 
look out of the window on the James river. Imme- 
diately below is the canal ; beyond it flows the river, 
with a rapid, murmuring current, reflecting here and 
there the purple flush of the morning clouds ; there is 
a cluster of tall factories on the Oj^posite bank ; be- 
yond these is the village of Manchester on one side, 
and on the other are broad fields, and the rolling 
hills which fringe a distant curve of the river. 
Looking up-st¥eam, there is a lovely little island, 
three long white bridges which span the stream, half 


concealed by the thick foliage, and beyond these, a 
full mile off, is Belle Isle, with some white tents 
crowning an eminence. The scene is beautiful at this 
hour, bathed in the rich roseate mist of early morn- 
ing, which pours over the gilded edges of the eastern 
clouds as if it overflowed from a golden vase. 

I pass to another window : this one looks upon the 
street. Yonder building, with the barred windows, 
I am told, is " Castle Thunder," and on the opposite 
side of the street may be just seen the gable end of 
another prison, known by the significant title of the 
" Cage." Nearer is an antiquated Meeting House ; 
then comes a negro shanty, a stable, a church, an 
empty lot, and a large warehouse, used as a con- 
valescent hospital for Confederate soldiers ; place 
behind these some rows of brick dwellings, by way 
of a horizon, and a pretty correct idea may be formed 
of what we are destined to behold every day during 
our sojourn here. This, with the group of tents, the 
headquarters of the guard, at the opposite corner of 
the street, and a row of sentries pacing up and down 
on the pavement below, is all that the windows of 
Libby offer in the way of an immediate prospect. 

Now for the Libby itself It stands close by the 

L3''nchburg canal, and in full view from the river. It 

is a capacious warehouse, built of brick and roofed 



with tin. It was a busy place previous to the Rebel- 
lion ; barrels and bales obstructed the stone side-walk 
wliich surrounds the building on all four of its sides ; 
barrels and boxes were being constantly hoisted in 
and hoisted out ; numberless boats lined the canal 
in front of it, and loaded drays rattled over the cob- 
ble pavement of Carej'' street. There was a signboard 
at an angle of the building, whereon you might have 
read in black letters on a white ground : " Libby & 
Sons, Ship Chandlers and Grocers." This sign-board 
is still at its post ; but a wondrous change has come 
over the place. There are now no bales and boxes 
coming in at one end, and going out at the other ; no 
laden boats on the canal ; no drays rattling over the 
stone pave. There is something about it indicative 
of the grave, and, indeed, it is a sort of unnatural 
tomb, whose pale, wan habitants gaze vacantly out 
through the barred windows on the passer-by, as if 
they were peering from the mysterious precincts of 
another world. 

The building has a front of about one hundred and 
forty feet, with a depth of about one hundred and 
five. There are nine rooms, each one hundred and 
two feet long by forty-five wide. The height of ceil- 
ings from the floor, is about seven feet ; except in the 


upper story, which is better ventilated owing to the 
I)itch of the roof. At each end of these rooms are 
five windows. 

Nothing but bread has, as yet, been issued to us, 
half a loaf twice a day, per man. This must be 
washed down with James River water, drawn from a 
hydrant over the wash-trough. To-morrow, we are 
to be indulged with the luxury of bacon-soup. 

There are some filthy blankets hanging about the 
room ; they have been used time and again by the 
many who have preceded us ; they are soiled, worn, 
and filled with vermin, but we are recommended to 
hell? ourselves in time ; if we do so with reluctance 
and profound disgust it is because we are now more 
particular than we will be by-and-by. 

We have tasted of the promised soup : it is boiled 
W&t3r sprinkled with rice, and seasoned with the rank 
ju^ '-es of stale bacon ; we must shut our eyes to eat 
It 5 the bacon, I have no doubt, might have walked 
into the pot of its own accord. It is brought up to 
us in wooden buckets, and we eat it, in most cases 
without spoons, out of tin-cups. " Quis custodiet 
ipsos custodes ?" 

It has been raining for several daj^s. How much 
more gloomy the prison looks, robbed of the little 


scattering sunlight which, on clear cla3^s, comes creep- 
ing timidly in between the window-bars I The effect 
on the minds of all in the prison is very perceptible : 
there is a tendency to lie about on the floor, to 
grumble, to be irritable, to have the blues. No 
wonder. The little ration of sunshine which Heaven 
is wont to issue to us is cut off. There is, here, some- 
thing delightful in letting a ray of sparkling sunshine 
fall upon one's face ; you can sit and look at it for 
hours. The pleasure which it affords is not difficult 
to account for : this sunlight comes from the sky, 
pure, and untainted ; it comes, free and unshackled, 
from without ; it is a link between the captive and 
that liberty which he has learned to prize so dearly ; 
it is a golden bridge over which his thoughts, ren- 
dered morbid by gloomy reveries, pass out through 
the prison-bars, and go forth into the free realm of 
space, to wander wheresoever they will. 

The rain pattering on the tin roof overhead has a 
mournful sound. It is singular how this music of 
the beating rain will always carry one back, far back, 
into child-life ; it is apt to have a strange, sad influ- 
ence on us whenever we hear it ; but nowhere so 
strange, nor so s^d, as in a prison. 

We have received permission to purchase provisions 

t&»k. A.^ 

i ii 



outside the prison. We have elected an officer, of 
the Quartermasters' Department, to be our " Commis- 
sary -in- Chief:'' He has divided us into messes of 
fifteen to twenty, and we are to do our own cooking ; 
stoves are being put up, and the cook-room parti- 
tioned off. It is a great privilege to be allowed to 
cook for ourselves ! An assistant commissary is 
elected for each mess : to these the chief commissary 
issues, and they in their turn issue to the cooks. 
The hours are so distributed that more than two 
hundred may be able to cook on two small stoves. 
The prison authorities issue meat and rice, of which 
we will make soup ; with the boiled meat from the 
soup a hash will be made for breakfast next morning. 
All extras will be at the expense of individuals. Rj^e 
Coffee sells at one dollar per pound ; sugar, three dol- 
lars ; eggs, two dollars per dozen ; butter, four dollars 
per pound — So much for our culinary prospects. 

' The officers of the gunboats *' Satellite-' and " Re- 
liance" are now with us. It is humorously rumored 
in the prison that they were captured by a desperate 
charge of the Rebel cavalry on the gunboats. These 
jolly tars will suffer less than the landsmen from 
their imprisonment ; they have only to imagine them- 
selves in the hold of some huge three-decker, during 

a dead calm. 



There has been much excitement in the city abont 
a rumored movement of Federal troops up the Penin- 
sula with the design of capturing the capital ; the 
bells all over the city were rung this morning, and 
only a few moments ago, being attracted to the win- 
dow by an unusual rattling of wheels on the street, 
we had a glimpse of one of the celebrated " Mule 
Batteries" which fulmine over Rebeldom, and whose 
bellicose braying is no doubt destined to strike terror 
into the hearts of the northern hay^hai^ians. 

It is difficult for one who has never before been 
compelled to look out upon the world from behind 
the bars of a prison, to convince himself of the fact 
that he is really deprived of his libert}^ There is a 
merry group of children, romping and playing near 
the river ; I listen to their joyous laughter, and, some- 
how, it has a very mournful sound. Most people 
have sighed, at times, to be 3^oung again ; that sigh 
is a longer and a deeper one when we yearn, not only 
for the happy insouciance of childhood, but for its 
freedom also. These thoughtless little ones romping 
and laughing under the very windows of our prison- 
house ; these happy hearts beating quick with the ex- 
citement of their merry sport in the pleasant shadows 
of a summer afternoon, how near are they to other and 


older hearts which are heavy with the gloom of cap- 
tivit}^ But is not this after all a counter-part of the 
great world, in which, Mde. De Stael remarks, one 
half is always laughing at the other half ? Truly : 
joy and sorrow, good and evil, how near grow they 
to one another in the vale of human life 1 The 
passers-by on the pave below, with what indifference 
they glance up at the pale faces that peer out between 
the bars ! 

These are not the pleasantest reflections in the 
world, but they are such as force themselves upon 
the mind of a prisoner. When Hood wrote in the 
''Bridge of Sighs" the line " Anj^ where, anywhere, 
out of the world," he must have been thinking of a 
place not much worse than this we are now in. I can 
imagine a '' Convict Ship" on its way to Australia — 
far out in mid-ocean — with nothing but a limitless 
waste of blue water around it, and nothing but a 
limitless waste of blue air above it — and crowded 
with sorrowing human beings. It seems to me that 
this prison bears some resemblance to it. We are 
indeed much like so many passengers, who feel that 
in a common danger and a common fate, there is 
much that creates a mutual interest. Our ship-simile 
might be carried very far, but it is too vivid to be 
j)leasant. Ours is a voyage, not of pleasure, but of 


necessity ; there is no convivial wine in our locker 
over wliicli to toast the friends we love, and wherein 
to drown the tedium of the journey ; we are on short, 
ver}^ short rations; and, to replace sea-sickness, we 
have a fearful substitute in home-sickness, by far the 
more trying of the two. 

I am interrupted in my profound reflections by the 
sudden influx into the room of a dozen negroes carry- 
ing buckets and brooms. I know but too well what 
this portends. It is scrubbing-day. These are the 
clouds which portend the storm. 

All that has ever been written, grumbled, or solilo- 
quized, b}^ forlorn and outraged husbands driven from 
the sanctity of their homes on those dismal occasions 
when their demented spouses have been seized with 
the " scrubbing-fever," and have pulled up all the 
carpets in the house, and crowded the furniture in 
pyramidal confusion in all the by-ways, and have 
lathered the floors, and the stairs, and the windows, 
and have rendered the entire premises fit to be in- 
habited, for the next twenty-four hours, only by 
improbable web-footed husbands of aquatic propen- 
sities, — when the flying spray of soap and water is 
dashed into their faces even from the doors of their 
private sanctums, and splashed over their best beaver 
from the parlor window-panes, — when, in fine, the 


whole female household seems to have gone stark 
mad with an irrepressible insanity for soap-snds, — 
all, I repeat, that has ever been uttered, under circum- 
stances so aggravating, by exasperated husbands, 
cannot do justice to a scrubbing-day in the Libby. 
For the anti-lavatory husband can at least, when hotly 
pressed by the enemy, make good his retreat out of 
the front door : here, there is no line of escape ! 
Everything, pretty much, that you possess, your bed, 
3^our baggage, and your dinner, are on the floor, and 
that floor, will be in a few moments a tempestuous 
ocean of splashing, filthy water. You may baffle the 
foe, perhaps, for a short time, by rapid and well-con- 
ducted retreats to little islands of dry floor here and 
there, where you stand on tip-toe, your blanket over 
your shoulders, your day's rations in one hand, and 
your coffee-pot in the otlier ; but you will, finally, be 
compelled to surrender, and resign yourself to your 
watery fate. 

There is only one other day, with us, which can, in 
any manner compare with the tortures and the terrors 
of this : that is, "whitewashing" day. You are then 
harassed, not from below, but from above ; this 
operation seems to have been invented by the fiendish 
ingenuit}^ of some monster in human shape, for the 


express purpose of completing the ruin of your 
already dilapidated wardrobe. Your only coat is 
sure to come out of the ordeal spotted and streaked 
with white down the back ; your only hat will look 
as if 3^ou had just come in from a severe snow-storm, 
and you will walk about the rest of the day like a 
sort of hitherto undiscovered specimen of the Leo- 
pard family, deeming j^ourself fortunate enough, if 
you do not create a, to jou, unaccountable laugh 
wherever you go, by a snow-flake of lime glued on to 
the end of jonv nose. 

In order to while away, to some extent, the tedium 
of our monotonous life, we have, among other pas- 
times, organized a Lyceum, or Debating Club. The 
scenes which it, at times presents, are worthy the 
graphic pencil of an artist. The chainnan sits on 
the floor a la Turqiie, the " chair" itself being an 
empty name, without any local existence. The mem- 
bers sit in a circle on the floor, like Indian Chiefs 
at a war council. 

The debates are very spirited, and grave questions, 
involving the destinies of the whole human race, 
and the future destiny of " Our great Country," are 
discussed with intense enthusiasm, sometimes even 


with political virulence, and not seldom with very 
bad grammar. 

An eloquent orator, naked to the waist [for the 
weather is very warm], rises on his bare feet, and 
flourishes his sleeveless arms about in a style as 
imposing and forcible as it is original. He is por- 
tra3'ing, with the glowing and picturesque colors of 
an inspired imagination, the sublime beauties of the 
ancient philosophy. He is patriotically suicidal with 
Socrates ; suicidally heroic with Cato ; astutely criti- 
cal with Horace ; mysteriously profound with Seneca, 
and profoundly mysterious with Cicero, when he is 
ludicrously interrupted by a vociferous call from the 
cook-house, of ''Fall in, small messes, for your black 
beans !" A shrewd debater on the negative side of 
the question, taking immediate advantage of this 
laughable interruption, rises promptly and obtains the 
''floor." He reviews rapidly, but with remarkable 
perspicacity, the fallacious arguments of his shirtless 
predecessor ; overturns the illogical conclusions to 
which ''the gentleman on the affirmative side who 
has just addressed 3'ou," would lead the intelligent 
members of the Association ; scatters to the four 
winds of Heaven all the philosophy of the past, all 
the philosophy of the present, and all the philosophy 
of the future ; and, in conclusion, triumphantly calls 


the attention of the learned chairman to the scanty 
wardrobe of his misguided opponent, as circumstan- 
tially corroborative of the scantiness of his wit. 

All this is quite comical and perfectly harmless, 
and aids admirably in passing away the time ; no 
one would think, therefore, of discountenancing the 
" Lj^ceum." Besides, it publishes a newspaper, called 
the " Libby Chronicle," which is edited by a witty 
and intelligent chaplain, and which descants with 
considerable acumen upon the various occurrences of 
our prison-life. When the reading of the Chronicle 
is announced throughout the building, which occurs, 
generally, once a week, there is a great rush to listen 
to its contents. The audience collects in a circle on 
the floor, and the Editor, standing in the centre, 
reads the various articles from the slips of paper on 
which they have been written. This mode of publi- 
cation, besides being quite economical, is decidedly 

One of the officers lectures to us, on the subject of 
mesmerism. He tells us about the electric fluid 
which permeates all space, about clairvoyance, about 
the magnetic spheres, and about many other interest- 
ing facts connected with the mesmeric science. The 
fact, whether mesmerism be a science, however, is 


caviled at by some of the medical faculty present, 
and at the succeeding meeting of the Lyceum, the all- 
important question : " Is Mesmerism a true science V^ 
is discussed with much warmth, and at great length. 
The Faculty being reinforced by an astute corres- 
pondent of the New York Tribune, assail the mes- 
meric party with redoubled energy, and finally, so 
much is said, on both sides, that the learned chair- 
man of the Debating Association, bewildered at first 
by the rapid discharges, from the opposing batteries, 
of all sorts of technical canister and scientific grape, 
and lost, soon afterwards, in a labyrinth of anatomi- 
cal dissertations and a complication of magnetic 
incomprehensibilities, is drawn into a vortex of irre- 
trievable confusion, and, ere the close of the meeting, 
is seized with the frightful hallucination that he is 
attempting the desperate feat of walking over ]S[iagara 
Falls on a telegraph wire, with a twelve jar galvanic 
battery in full blast in his coat-tail pocket I 

The mesmeric excitement gains ground with alarm- 
ing rapidity, and soon becomes general ; all sorts of 
impromptu mesmerisers may be seen here and there 
about the rooms, surrounded by anxious and serious 
groups, and endeavoring, with all the earnestness of 
mesmeric faith, to worry suspected mediums into an 
impossible sleep. It is shrewdly argued by some 



that a state of chronic somnolency would be an 
admirable mental condition in which to pass through 
the horrors of a protracted captivity ; and that, as by 
mesmeric influence, all kinds of hallucinations may 
be produced on the brain of the sleeper, nothing 
would be easier than to eat stale bread and imagine 
it to be sponge-cake ; to turn James River water 
into sparkling champagne ; and to convert into 
'^ Floating islands" the vapid juices of weak bean 
soup ! These admirable results, and the startling 
phenomena which accompany them, however, are, 
unfortunately for us, not obtained ; the medium, in 
spite of him, cannot hear anything of the luxurious 
jingle of silver about his smutted tin-cup, and the 
same old prison-odor of superannuated bacon still 
clings, with anti-mesmeric tenacity, to the incor- 
rigible vapors of the cook-house. 

^ OR/AN - 

The Tub. 



^VV€[,VK§»\\ — Killing Time— The New Aeri- 


OF Daily Life — A Peayee — Staevation — About 
A Tub — A Mock Teial. 




T AM repeatedly struck by the fact of how much 
-^ prisoners become like children. The importance 
of momentous events is given to the merest trifles, 
and in order to elicit that most contrary and proble- 
matical result ironically styled killing time, recourse 
is had to the most insignificant and primitive pas- 
times. Unwearable finger rings, and sacrilegious 
looking crosses are sawed and filed out of ration 
bones ; the handles of brushes and the backs of combs 
are carved with touching mottoes ; gray heads become 
speculative over jack-straws ; and, sedate and digni- 
fied patriots indulge in the grotesque antics of "leap- 
frog." Then, to see them crowding up, tin-cup in 
hand, to receive the meagre allowance of pale, ambig- 
uous soup ; to watch them lying about the floor in 
unique groups, or sauntering through the rooms, bored 

to death with ennui, — a host of shoeless, shirtless, 



shameless spectres, each one wandering wildly about 
in the preposterous effort to get away from himself ! 

It is laughable — and in that mirth there is a moral 
— to see a brigadier-general, sitting down philosophi- 
cally to peel onions for a stew ; a colonel of cavalry, 
sweeping the floor; or, a Division Quartermaster in 
carpet slippers, and become irascible in a violent con- 
troversy about the distribution of spoons ! 

There is a new arrival of prisoners. The cry is 
started of "more Yanks !" " Fresh Fish !" and there, 
is a general rush to the windows to obtain a glimpse 
of the new-comers, followed, in all likelihood, by a 
spirited interchange of amicable recognitions. 

The ''Fresh Fish" are taken into the lower passage, 
where they are formed in line, their names registered, 
and their pockets searched. They are then, if they- 
be officers, conducted up-stairs into their future 
domicil, and, if enlisted men, into a lower room, or 
they are sent to Belle Isle, or to one of the other 
prisons in Richmond. 

In the general thirst for the latest news, the hapless 
" Fresh Fish" who just enters, is beset by the whole 
bevy of jail-birds, whose haggard countenances, dis- 
hevelled hair, and supernatural attire, are sufficient 
to inspire him with feelings not the most enviable, 


either as to his personal safety for the present, or as 
to his personal comfort for the future. A number 
of questions are asked him, all at the same time, 
whilst one pulls him this way, and another that : — 
" What news from the Army of the Potomac ?" 
" Where is such a Corps, or such a Division ?" 
*' When were you captured ?" " Where were you 
captured ?" How were you captured ?" And so on 
for a quarter of an hour, until at last the poor 
fellow, breathless and exhausted, drops his haver- 
sack out of one hand, and his coat out of the other, 
that he may wipe away the torrents of perspiration 
that stream down his face. There is then a commis- 
erative counter-cry of " give him air !" " don't 
crowd him !" and so forth, during another period 
of noise and confusion. At length the unfortunate 
man recovers his breath, and silence is enforced, that 
not a word falling from his lips may be lost, when 
he informs the gaping listeners, to their utter dis- 
comfiture and dismay, that he comes from the south- 
west, and was captured five months nc;o ! This 
provoking revelation is likely to elicit some such 
charitable suggestion as "put that fellow out!" 
which being impracticable under the circumstances 
is probably modified to " dip him in the bath-tub I" 
Once let alone, the new arrival proceeds to 


enquire about Ms " quarters," a term wliicli lie soon 
discovers is only applied by courtesy to six feet by 
two of bare floor ; he is perhaps furnished, in addi- 
tion, with a blanket which many a captive has here, 
during the past two years, wrapped like a "martial 
cloak around him," and which is pretty sure to be 
colonized. Being fiow provided for, to the full 
extent of the prison charity, and having sauntered 
about the rooms to satisfy his curiosity as to the 
peculiar features of his new abode, he finally stretches 
himself out on his " six by two," arranges his haver- 
sack comfortably under his head, and does precisely 
what all the new arrivals have done before him : he 
begins to think. 

Just at the culminating point of some wild revery 
about his far-off wife and innocent babes, he is 
suddenly aroused by a terrific commotion in the 
room ; the prisoners, with a savage halloo, are rush- 
ing frantically to the windows. What can it mean ? 
"What is the matter?" asks the new arrival, as he 
springs to his feet, in accents tremulous with the 
excitement of terror. Will no one tell him ? no ; 
every one is in a hurry, and no one tells him. The 
most frightful suspicions dart through his brain. 
Have the prisoners mutinied, and are they slaughter- 
ing the guards ? He has read a barbarous article 


in the ^' Biclimoncl Enquirer'''' about retaliation, and 
the raising of the black flag — no ! would they dare 
to — and he grasps his throat convulsively. Perhaps 
the building is on fire. A horrible thought I Five 
hundred human beings struggling through one con- 
tracted doorway ! The alarming narrowness of the 
staircase also recurs vividly to his memory. He 
rushes madly after the crowd ; in his blind career he 
treads upon the countenance of a slumbering con- 
valescent, and materially retards the recovery of the 
afiiicted man ; or he puts his foot into a coffee-pot 
and overturns its contents ; or ruins some choice 
and expensive preparation of stewed apples ; or plays 
the deuce with some valuable collection of tin-ware, 
thereby subjecting himself to the violent abuse of a 
"private mess." At length, after much spirited 
elbowing, during which he regrets the necessity of 
being rough upon a reverend member of the clergy, 
he finally reaches a window. Are the prisoners 
leaping madly into the street to avert an agonizing 
death amid the flames ? This would be a fearful 
alternative for a man with a far-off wife and innocent 
babes I By a desperate effort he obtains a full view 
of the street ; the extraordinary commotion is satis- 
factorily accounted for. He laughs outright. The 
frightful phantoms which haunted his brain but a 


moment since, have fled. He beholds the mysterious 
cause of this wild excitement : it is a woman passing 
along the pavement below. 

So he goes sauntering back to his ''six-by-two," a 
wiser, if not a better man. 

As night approaches, the situation of the fresh 
arrival becomes somewhat critical. He succeeds, 
after awhile, in bringing about a not altogether 
satisfactory compromise between his blanket, his 
haversack, and himself; after Ijdng, first on one 
side, then on the other, then on his back, and then 
on no side in particular, he finally falls into an 
ambiguous slumber, and dreams unutterable miseries. 
But he has not yet emptied to the dregs the bitter 
cup of his first day's experience in the Libby. In 
the midst of a thrilling night-mare, he is awakened 
by startling and confused yells in the distance ; they 
approach, rendering the night hideous with their 
echoes ; nearer and nearer they come, repeated at 
short intervals, by weird voices, and wafted up from 
the street by the night wind. But this suspense 
becomes insupportable ; he leaps to his feet, and 
makes his way to the nearest window ; it is raining, 
and the sidewalk below is shrouded in impenetrable 
darkness, but a shrill Confederate voice informs him, 
as it takes up in piercing accents the diabolical 


refrain, that it is "Twelve o'clock," and that at 
" Post IS^o. 10, all's well !" This gratifying intelli- 
gence restores the alarmed prisoner's presence of 
mind, and chastened and subdued by the Christian- 
like resignation and buoyancy of spirits of "Post 
No. 10," he once more returns to torture himself into 
an unresolvable problem of chaotic anatomy, and 
falls asleep for the last time that night, with the 
pleasing reflection that to-morrow, thank Heaven, 
he will have ceased to be a "Fresh Fish!" 

The first thing we hear in the morning is the 
stentorian voice of a certain fertile colored genius, 
familiarly known in Libby as "Old Ben." This 
voice daily announces to the half-awakened prisoners 
that there is " great news in de papers ! Talagraphic 
dispatches from ebery whar ! Ease I'm bound to 
trabel !" 

Old Ben is followed by "the General," another 
colored attache of the prison, whose chief duty is to 
go through the rooms every morning and fumigate 
them with tar-smoke. The " General" is a staunch 
supporter of the old flag, and qualifies his fumigatory 
process by calling it " a good Union smoke !" 

The next announcement is, that of " Mess number 
so-and-so — ^breakfast !" There is then a general rush 


of the memlDers of said mess to their morning repast, 
which is spread in true alms-house style, upon a 
long, bare, pine table. To the casual observer, the 
meal would appear to consist wholly of deformed 
tin plates and pewter spoons, but an oniony odor 
which pervades the premises is a welcome earnest of 
''hash" to come. If a newly arrived member in the 
mess has been unfortunate enough to oversleep him- 
self — ^which will never occur to him twice — he may 
rest assured that his slumbers will not be disturbed ; 
this would be the very height of madness, because, 
by a shrew algebraic calculation, we arrive at the 
following gratifying result : 

a =^ total members of mess. 
J) = slumbering ditt( 
X = rations of hash. 

J) = slumbering ditto of ditto. 

Now then, we have the quantities I'' — 1^, and 
20^ — P, from which will naturally be deduced the 
following equation : 

20^— P=19=^ + 19^ t 1^. 

Yarious little episodes diversify the monotony of 
Libby life. There are two roll-calls daily, when the 


prisoners are counted ; there is the Sergeant, who 
every morning conjures up a host of dilapidated 
spectres with the necromantic words, *' Fall in, sick, 
and go down" — which means down to the Surgeon's 
office — but which the uninitiated might imagine to 
imply a diabolical desire, on the part of the Con- 
federate authorities, that the sick might fall into 
some dreadful place — perhaps the canal — and go down 
never to rise again. 

Each prisoner must serve his tour at policing, and 
putting things in order, during which he is in all 
likelihood dispatched hy the chief commissary on a 
spirited reconnoissance in quest of secreted spoons. 
Of course there is your little washing to be done, 
also ; you rub and soap away for dear life, like a male 
washer- woman, and the difficulty of getting things to 
look clean teaches you a wholesome lesson ; you learn 
thereby to dul}'' appreciate the merit of lavatory 
labors, and j^ou behold in all its glaring monstrosity 
that mean and criminal practice of palming off coun- 
terfeit six-pences upon hard-working laundresses. 

The last days of summer ! — All our hopes of being 
exchanged or paroled, have been dissipated one after 
another, and our captivity is passing with rapid 



strides from the last green of summer to tlie sere 
yellow of autumn ; from faint hope to settled despair. 
Rumors of battles which are being fought, and of 
victories which are being won, reach us from time to 
time, and cheer us in our seclusion. The hopes of 
the Confederacy are paling fast, and its social status, 
if we may judge by that of the capital as portrayed 
in its daily journals, deteriorates with a steady down- 
ward course that must soon lead to utter anarchy. 

Among the prisoners are quite a number of chap- 
lains. This time the rude grasp of Mars has not 
respected the inviolable sanctity of the holy robe. 
Sermons, and prayer-meetings are of frequent occur- 
"rence ; the minister takes his position in the centre 
of the room, and the congregation sit, or kneel, 
around him on the floor. It is a service well befit- 
ting the prison-house, with its prospects of long 
suffering and self-denial, and its menaces of weary 
hours, and days of languishing tedium. The spirit 
of the Almighty is ardently invoked to descend to us 
in our gloomy abode ; to pour the sunshine of Its 
glory upon the dismal prison-walls, and the balm of 
Its mercy into the weary heart ; to give to the mind 
of Its holy strength, that looking wistfully out through 
the prison-bars at the light and the liberty without, 


the captive may temper his coinplainiDgs with faith, 
and his despair with hope. 

In the room under the one we occupy, are confined 
a large number of Federal non-commissioned officers, 
and citizens captured in Maryland and Pennsjdvania 
during the late invasion by General Lee's Army. 
They are even more poorly fed than ourselves. 
Through a chink in the floor we pass them down 
crackers, and pieces of bread, wdienever we can spare 
them from our own slender store. It is pitiful to see 
these starving men struggling with their thin, lank 
hands, at the hole, to catch the bits we drop through 
to them. We often see them fight desperately over 
a morsel of bread, even beating and knocking one 
another down. I never look through that chink, but 
I can see below some anxious, wasted face, and a pair 
of sunken eyes, peering up in wistful supplication for 
a crust ! The Confederate authorities assert that 
they are doing all they can for us ! If unavoidable, 
this system of starvation would be frightful enough : 
if intentional, it is too revoltingly cruel to ever meet 
with its fall punishment upon earth. 

The water we use, is drawn at a hj^drant, under 
which a bath-tub, or rather trough, has been con- 


structed, which serves for all washing purposes gen- 
erally. This tub, which would under ordinary con- 
ditions of comfort inconvenientl}^ hold one bather, is 
often made to accommodate three or four at a time, 
with a crowd in waiting and ready to squeeze in at 
the first opportunity. A misty spray of muddy soap 
and water constantly envelopes the tub, so that it 
presents somewhat the appearance of a rock by the 
sea-side, against which the rising waves dash them- 
selves incessantly. In this unusually hot weather 
the prison is heated into a huge oven, in which sev- 
eral hundred human beings are thoroughly baked in 
the most approved style of a first class steam bakery. 
Of course under such circumstances, the pressure 
upon the tub is tremendous — for it is a well in the 
prison-sands, and the splashing and spluttering which 
take place there, may readily be conceived. 

A prisoner lately arrived, and not j^et well ac- 
quainted with the prison rules, was, some da^^s ago, 
anxious to take a bath, and wash away the accu- 
mulated dust and mud gathered during a journey 
from the banks of the Rappaliannock. After several 
abortive efforts to achieve an ablution, he shrewdly 
resolved to wait until after dark, and in the silence 
and secrecy of the midnight hour, when all should be 
soundly asleep, to creep stealthily to the tub, take tri- 


umpliant possession, and scour himself to his heart's 

Night creeps on apace ; one b}^ one the bathers 
retire ; the "all's well !" is cried by the sentries ; the 
prisoners are all asleep, laid out snugly side by side 
over the whole superficial extent of the floor, as if it 
were an unearthed cemetery originally distributed 
into private lots ; a variety of naso-orchestral sounds, 
alone breaks the profound stillness of the hour. 
Everything proving propitious, the ''newly arrived,'^ 
rises, on tiptoe, soap and towel in hand ; steps out 
cautiously between the heads of the sleepers ; takes 
breath and steps again, within the eighth of an inch 
of a captain's ear ; next plants his bare heel within a 
hair's breadth of a colonel's nose ; steps forward 
carefully again and feels something soft under his 
foot, — easy ! it is the head of a second lieutenant 
of cavalry. He has at length reached, in compara- 
tive safety, a window which is near the tub, — is star- 
tled by the intoxicated appearance of the moon, just 
seen looming above the horizon, and no doubt stao-- 

C3 'CD 

gering down to bed with a glass too many in her 
head ; he experiences a half superstitious and guilty 
feeling. Finally the tub is reached, and the goal 
won. With a tremulous hand he turns the water on : 



fizz ! froth ! splash ! out it comes, gushing in a pow- 
erful stream. What a thundering noise it makes in 
the stilhiess of the night ! a cry goes up from among 
the awakened sleepers ; a fearful cry, followed by 
loud yells, and shouts of " Stop that water !" " Come 
out of that tub!" "Strike a light!" ''Boot him I 
boot him !" If any doubt is created in the mind of 
the terrified bather as to the precise definition of the 
last exclamation, this doubt is soon dispelled by 
the storm of heterogeneous missiles, which pour upon 
him from every quarter of the room ; panic-stricken 
and unable to understand the meaning of the fright- 
ful uproar he has originated, and only able to com- 
prehend distinctly that he is the radical cause of it, 
by the boot which whistles past his nose in fearful 
proximity like a grape shot, and by the broomstick, 
which cuts him across the legs in the manner of 
" rail road iron." He makes his way back as best he 
can to his blanket, never stopping, of course, to check 
the water. The tumult in consequence, increases, 
and there is, finally, a general rush to the tub to 
seize the offender. The greatest confusion prevails 
in the room. " Who is it ?" " Stop that water !'^ 
''Put him out!" "Strike a light!" A light is 
struck, and a large crowd has gathered about the tub. 


It is, of course, found empty. Loud denunciatious 
are uttered, accompanied with violent tlireats of bring- 
ing the offender to justice, whilst the half distracted 
cause of all this mischief, lies closely enveloped in his 
blanket, snoring with unnatural ferocity. 

Gradually the tumult ceases, and ere long, all are 
gathered once more to slumber under the raven's 
wing. There is one, however, who sleeps not, — it is 
the "new arrival." "Why should I have created 
such a diabolical commotion ?" he asks of himsell. 
" I am sure I was only going to take a bath, without 
doing a particle of harm to any one." Yes, poor 
fellow ! you are " green" yet in the prison. You do 
not know that it is one of the strictest rules here 
that the wash tub shall not be used after 9 P. M. ; 
you little think you have been guilt}- of a crime, 
the penalty for which is to be locked up in the 
dungeon for a week on bread and water ! 

There is a certain captain who is a great stickler 
for the enforcement of prison rules and regulations — 
a dignified and retiring gentleman, and a great 
favorite. He is very severe on the subject of the 
tub, near which he sleeps. Woe unto the offender 
who turns on the water after nine P. M. All are in 
the habit of looking up to the captain on the subject 


of the tub; it is his favorite battle ground, and all 
are too cognizant of the astuteness of his strategy 
to risk a nocturnal skirmish with him. Many will 
long remember one memorable night in which he 
attacked no less a personage than a fall quarter- 
master, and after a bloody and obstinate conflict,, 
routed him with great slaughter, cutting off his 
communications, and capturing his trains. This ac- 
tion is humorously related in the prison as '' The 
Battle of the Tub." 

Not the least amusing incident to which the tem- 
pestuous history of this devoted tub has given rise, 
is the trial b}^ a mock court of one of the most 
discreet and dignified of the officers, charged with 
endangering the peace and discipline of the prison 
community, by an attempt somewhat of the nature 
of the one just related, to enjoy the secret raptures 
of a clandestine bath. Much humor and mirth were 
created by this comical trial. A gra}'- headed cavalry 
officer acted as judge upon the occasion, and the mock 
gravity and professional air he assumed, as well as 
his shrewd wit, convulsed the court with laughter 
during the proceedings. 

The empanelling of the jury was rendered amusingly 


difficult by the fact that nearly all who were subpoe- 
naed had been selected out of the foreign element : 
French, Germans, and Hungarians, especially those 
who knew but little of the language. The accused 
of course became the target at which all the mischiev- 
ous witticisms were aimed ; but he bore himself 
throughout the trying ordeal with the most admirable 
good-nature. Among the many amusing arguments 
urged by the defence was one, sustained by powerful 
evidence, that the accused had never been known 
even, to wash his face, since his arrival in the prison ; 
one of the Faculty was produced who testified to the 
effect that the accused suffered from frequent attacks 
of hydrophobia ; another in assisting him to an alibi, 
testified that he had seen the prisoner on the night 
m question coming out of an ice-cream saloon on 
Main street, in Richmond, with a Confederate lady 
on his arm ; a fragment of a letter had been picked 
up by another, near the tub, signed by one " Susan," 
the contents of which aspersed the fidelity of the aged 
warrior, and brought to light some highly amusing 
incidents of his amatory experiences. The prisoner 
at the bar listened to these jokes with charming good 
temper, and none seemed to relish more than himself 
the drollery of the whole affair. 



A verdict of '' guilty" was brought in, with a recom- 
mendation to the mercy of the court ; and the sen- 
tence, which terminated the proceedings, was to the 
effect that the accused should be drummed out of the 
prison into the Federal lines, and that, in view of the 
recommendation to mercy, the prosecution should 
pay all the costs I 

OLD "smoke. 



Se>^\c.mV>e.v •. — Amatory — The Catechism 
— ^I^ocTUENAL Sports — The fate of a Union 
Officer charged with being a Spy — Distribu- 
tion OF EOOMS. 




THAT felicitous German author, Weber, in his 
" Lachenden Philosophen," relates of an Italian 
lady that she was heard to express the wish that ice 
cream might be forbidden — it would taste so much 
better ! It was no contemptible philosophy, this of 
the fair Italian ; for, what an exaggerated value do 
we not at times attach, even to the merest trifles, 
simply because they are inaccessible to us. This 
spirit of contradiction is wonderfully developed by 
the quasi-barbaric existence we lead here, what 
though the yearnings of our palates are far less lux- 
urious than those of the Italian Donna, — ice cream 
and other delicate confections taking up no room 
where so many of the simplest accessories of civilized 
life are lackiug. Indeed it is not so mnch the 
famine of food for the bod}^, as that for the mind, 
which lays so stubborn a siege to the philosophic 
patience of the many. We may be resigned to be fed, 

physically, upon anything ; but when the mind is in 



question one is apt to be less easily satisfied. Ah, 
yes 1 The heart yearns for its home-confections, its 
social sherbets, its amorous Heidsick ! 

I have been led into these profound reflections by 
the serio-comic, semi-tragic manner in which I have 
seen several photographs tremulously extracted from 
newly received letters, and by the mercurial manner 
in which the restless recipient, with an absolutely 
transparent effort at nonchalance, and an ill-feigned 
simplicity of purpose, wanders about the room with 
one hand suspiciously inserted in his breast i^ocket, 
seeking for some recondite corner where with the 
pretty treasure concealed in a book, he may decoy all 
passers-by into the impression that he is absorbed 
in the paradigms of his French Grammar, or in the 
touching mysteries of '-'Aurora Floyd." As he sits 
there, dreaming over the faithful counterpart of a 
pair of sentimental blue eyes, the graceful sweep of 
an arching eyebrow, or the amorous pout of a sugges- 
tive mouth, — such a youth is, I dare say, highly to be 
envied ; for, one of those weird little birds, with 
beaks of gold and wings of purple, which haunt the 
heart-world and warble such pleasant music in the 
ears of parted lovers, is no doubt singing sweet tunes 
to hmi, perched in a reckless curl of his unpomatumed 
hair ! 


Let me not be deemed guilty of a breach of prison 
confidence, or of limning in colors too trivial th© 
stormy sorrows of the heart ; rather than brood over 
such Tfoes — a practice which only tends to render the 
mind of the prisoner morbid and misanthropic — far 
better is it to gild the storm-cloud with the faint sun- 
shine of a patient smile. 

One of the most original institutions among the 
prisoners is that practiced every night, after the lights 
are put out. It is styled "the catechism." It con- 
sists of a series of satirical, critical, serio-comic 
interrogatories, referring either to events of recent 
occurrence in the prison, or to incidents connected 
with the previous experiences of some of the officers ; 
they are invariably personal in their application, and 
wo unto him who falls into the clutches of these noc- 
turnal catechisers, or who attempts to remonstrate 
against so popular an amusement. Such significant 
questions are asked as " Who hid behind the big 
gun ?" " Who has Brigadier on the brain ?" '' Who 
washed his clothes in the soup bucket ?i' " Who sur- 
rendered for humanity's sake ?" and these are replied 
to with the names of the several oflendcrs much to 
the gusto of those acquainted with the circumstances 
referred to. 


This more original than intellectual amusement is 
occasionally^ varied by a sequence of hideous imita- 
tions of all known fowls and quadrupeds, with a 
menagerie-like effect which would not sound unnat- 
ural in a virgin forest of central Africa. 

These highlj^ refined entertainments invariably 
terminate with a grand bombardment, by way of a 
finale a la militaire, during which all kinds of mis- 
siles, even to the fragments of stale corn-bread, are 
violently and rapidl}'' discharged from numberless 
masked batteries and go whirring all over the room, 
crashing among the tin-ware, and barrels, and boxes, 
with a continuous rattle which quite reminds one of a 
brisk skirmish, and is not unaccompanied with some 
serious apprehensions as to the safet^^ of uncovered 

A gloom has hung over our prison community for 
some da3^s past, owing to the appearance in the Rich- 
mond papers, of the letter and local item transcribed 
below : 

" Castle Thunder, Kichmond, Yirginia, 
September 23d, 1863. 
" Dear Father : — By permission and through the 
courtesy of Captain Alexander, I am enabled to write 


you a few lines. You, who before this have heard 
from me in regard to my situation here, can, I trust 
bear it, when I tell you that my days on earth are 
soon ended. 

"Last Saturday I was court-martialled, and this 
evening, a short time since, I received notice of my 
sentence by Captain Alexander, who has since shown 
me every kindness consistent with his duty. 

'' Writing to m}^ dear parents, I feel there can be 
no greater comfort after such tidings than to tell you 
that I trust, by the mercy of our Heavenly Father, 
to die the death of a Christian. 

'Tor more than a year, since the commencement 
of my confinement, I have been tr3dng to serve Him in 
my own feeble way, and I do not fear to go to Him. 

" I would have loved to see you all again ; God 
saw best not ; why should we mourn ? Comfort your 
hearts, m^^ dear parents, by thoughts of God's mercy 
unto your son, and bow with reverence beneath the 
hand of Him who 'doeth all things well.' 

<< * * I sent a ring to my wife by a clergj^man, 
Monday last ; I also sent a telegram to yourself, which 
will arrive too late, as the time of my execution is set 
for the day after to-morrow. 

'' Dear parents : There are but a few more moments 

left me ; I will try to think often of you, God bless 



and comfort you ; remember me kindly and respect- 
fully to all my dear friends and relatives. Tell Kitty 
I hope to meet her again. Take care of Freddy for 
me; put him often in remembrance of me. 

" Dear mother, good-bye. God comfort you, my 
mother, and bless you with the love of ha^Dpy chil- 
dren. Farewell, my father ; we meet again by God's 

"Spencer Kellogg." 

" At eleven o'clock yesterday forenoon a detail of 
one hundred men from the City Battalion, marched 
from Castle Thunder with Spencer Kellogg, the re- 
cently condemned spy, in custod}^ 

" The cavalcade reached the scene of execution 
about half-past twelve o'clock, where, as usual, a vast 
concourse of people, of both sexes and all ages, were 
congregated. After a few moments spent in prelimi- 
nary arrangements, the prisoner was escorted, under 
guard, to the gallows. While seated in the hack 
awaiting the perfection of the arrangements for his 
execution, he conversed gaily, with the utmost non- 
chalance with Dr. Burrows, frequently smiling at some 
remark made either by himself or the minister. 

"Arriving under the gallows, the charges preferred 
against the accused and the sentence of the court- 


martial were read. A short but impressive praj-er 
was then offered by the minister, at the conclu- 
sion of which the condemned man, unaccompanied, 
mounted the scaffold. 

" In a few moments Detective Capehart followed, 
and commenced to adjust the rope over the neck 
of the condemned, in which he assisted, 'all the while 
talking with the officer. On taking off his hat, to 
admit the noose over his head, he threw it one side, 
and, falling off the scaffold, it struck a gentleman 
beneath, when the prisoner turned quickly, and bow- 
ing, said : ' excuse me, sir !' 

" A negro next came on the scaffold with a ladder, 
and proceeded to fasten the rope to the upper beam, 
the prisoner meanwhile regarding him with the 
greatest composure. The rope being fastened, the 
negro was in the act of coming down, when the 
prisoner, looking up at the rope, remarked : ' This 
will not break my neck ! It is not more than a foot 
fall ! Doctor, I wish 3^ou would come up and arrange 
this thing !' The rope was then arranged to his 
satisfaction, and the cloth cap placed over his head. 

" The condemned man then bowed his head, and 
engaged a few seconds in praj^er, at the conclusion 
of which he raised himself, and Standing perfectly 
erect, pronounced in a clear voice : ' All ready !' 


" The drop fell, and the condemned man was 
launched mto Eternity !" 

Kellogg was a man of prepossessing appearance. 
His skin, from his long confinement, some fifteen 
months, had become as fair and delicate as a girl's. 
He was about thirty-five years of age. He was ac- 
cused of liavino; «one into the Confederate Ens^ineer 
Corps, at Island Number Ten, for the purpose of 
gaining information for the benefit of the Federal 
Government, and is said by his captors to have died 
with the conviction that he had furnished more valu- 
able information, in the character of a spy, to that 
Government, than any other ten men in the United 
States service. These facts have been denied by the 
friends of Kellogg at the North, who assert that he 
was innocent of the charge. Surely, he died with that 
calm heroic courage which wins the admiration of 
every true soldier. Poor Kellogg ! It will be a 
worthier hand than mine which shall write your name 
on that page of your country's history, which records 
the story of the martyr, and the fallen brave ! 

"We have been largely reinforced, by General 
Bragg, with a host of prisoners from Chickamauga. 
Seven rooms in the building, besides one other, used 


as a hospital, are now filled with Federal oflScers, 
numbering in all, near one thousand. The officers be- 
longing to^the armies of the Potomac and Cumberland, 
and those of General Milroy's and Colonel Streight's 
command, occupy separate rooms. We have now 
the upper and lower, (second and third stories,) east 
rooms, the first floor and basement being assigned to 
the hospital ; these are occupied by the officers of the 
Potomac army ; — the upper and lower middle rooms, 
are occupied by the officers of the Cumberland army, 
the lower floor being used as a general kitchen ; — and 
in the upper and lower west rooms, are confined 
the officers of Milroy's and Streight's command. 
The middle rooms are familiarly known as " Chick- 

When asked where we " live," we answer, for in- 
stance, "north west corner, upper east room," or 
^' such post, or window, lower west room." Our com- 
munity has assumed imposing proportions; it is a 
rapidly growing colony and represents nearly every 
state in the Union. 



:'i"h;!i;il!i!::it,;:; ■■.;h 



Five for a Dollar 



Oe\o\>e;V •. — Preparing for AYinter- 
Sports — The Election — A Yankee Trick. 




A S the cool weather gains upon us, lying about 
^ ^ on the bare floor, en deshabille, must be fore- 
gone. It has never entered into the calculations of 
our keepers to furnish our prison-home for us ; so, we 
must set to work, and by a desperate effort of our 
ingenuity, furnish it ourselves. Every day I observe 
great improvements in this dejoartment of our house- 
keeping ; diminutive, unpretending stools, made from 
spare ends of shelf-boards and blanket racks, have 
given way to more aspiring attempts at chairs ; boxes 
from home have been worried into rickety, phthisical 
looking little tables, or hung up to serve as cup- 
boards ; commissary barrels have been sawed and 
hammered into unsightly, and somewhat uneasy 
"easy-chairs;" a stray piece of blanket makes, here 
and there, a tolerable table-cloth ; a suspended barrel 
hoop replaces the long lost luxury of a clothes perch ; 
a splinter forced into the wall in the interstices be- 



tween the bricks, will support your hat in a cheap 
and decorous manner ; an empty can, once the 
receptacle of some highly prized delicacy, makes an 
admirable lamp, in which, with a wick made from the 
nether extremity of a cotton garment, and fed with 
the waste fat of sundry pork rations, diffuses a fair 
amount of light, backed by its compound metallic 
reflector. With a seat, a table, and a lamp, at the 
prisoner's disposal, the long winter evenings will not 
find him totally unprepared. Indeed there is at times 
experienced in the midst of the long room, scattered 
all over with little squatter-like colonies gathered 
round a cluster of their rude furniture and pork-fat 
lamps, a something almost akin to a faint resem- 
blance of comfort. Such is the force of habit, that 
we conceive our few feet square of mess room, to 
]30ssess something of a home character — if that can 
in any manner be coupled with the name of home, 
which is, in the world, perhaps the least like it. 

Some of us at the foot of a post, some near a win- 
dow, some against a wall, or even in the centre of the 
room, with our clothing hung up on every projecting 
angle, our eatables perched upon all manner of shelves 
and ingenious contrivances, and our rough little table 
and chair, we look like so many gregarious Crusoes ; 
a large invoice of poll-parrots from one of the many 


Societies at the North, would render tliis last illusion 

In order to lessen the tedium of the winter even- 
ings, recourse is had to all sorts of games, in which 
the majority participate with great zest. Sometimes 
it is a ludicrous imitation of a country show, in which 
figures an elephant represented by throwing a blanket 
over the shoulders of two oflScers, or a grotesque 
female giant, in which one is mounted upon the 
shoulders of another ; these are paraded through the 
rooms, preceded by torch bearers and a band of 
music performing favorite airs on hair-combs — the 
whole headed by some comical genius carrying a 
broom, in the character of an absurd drum-major. 
At other times a grand cock-fight is inaugurated, in 
which the two combatants selected, having patiently 
submitted to that arbitrary process known as ''buck- 
ing," butt at each other around the ring in fine style, 
the defeated '' rooster" being overset in the most 
ludicrous manner. Bets are made, and great faith 
exhibited in the fighting qualities of the several 

Another species of amusement is that barbarous 
one called "raiding," which consists in that some 
twenty of the most desperate characters dash through 
the room, sweeping before them all the}^ meet, over- 


setting card-tables and chairs, and throwing into 
confusion eveiything and everybody that comes in 
their way. This lieathenish practical joke is the 
terror of the more sedate portion of the community, 
for the raiders respect nothing and no one, and the 
just complaints of such as do not relish the rude 
sport only adds to their zeal and contributes to their 
merriment. Gymnastic exercises are also much in- 
dulged in ; an old hickory broom suspended at each 
end from one of the cross-beams furnishes a trapeze, 
which although not ver;;^ safe is perhaps not much 
more dangerous than a sharp skirmish, or a desperate 
cavalry charge. 

There has been great rejoicing of late in the prison, 
owing to the arrival of numerous boxes from the 
north, containing clothing and eatables for the pris- 
oners. There is an almost child-like delight exhibited 
over these timely bounties from home. An officer 
with a " box" becomes at once the admired of all 
admirers, and receives congratulations as hearty as if 
he had just *' married a fortune." 

Truly, ''men are but children of a larger growth." 
Shut a man up in a prison, deprive him of his habit- 
ual comforts, torture him with hunger, and it is singu- 
lar how soon he " remounts the river of his years." 


There is considerable excitement here about the 
gubernatorial elections going on at the north in 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. To-day being the 
13th of October, polls have been opened to test the 
political sentiment of the prison. The excitement 
waxes high ; for several days past there has been stump 
speaking, there have been torchlight processions, much 
canvassing, and cheering, and spirited debates as to 
the issue. The Curtin, and Brough parties are san- 
guine ; Yallandigham stands but a poor chance. 

There is quite a crowd at the polls, and consider- 
able challenging and quizzing. 

The polls have been closed. The returns show the 
following results : 


Whole number of votes cast 114 

For A. Gc. Curtin, (Union) 95 

" G. W. Woodward, (Democrat) ... 18 

Scattering 1 

Majority for Curtin Yt 


Whole number of votes cast KU 

For John Brough, (Union) 160 

" C, L. Yallandigham, (Democrat) ... 

Scattering 1 

Majority for Brough 159 

Total Union majority .... 236 


This result proves how scarce among us in the 
prison is the " copperhead" element. Indeed, any 
one who has been even but for a short time in the 
Southern Confederacy, learns that the Rebels despise 
no class of people more heartily than they do their 
own sympathizers at the North. They shrewdly 
say that if these "copperheads" are "for^^ them they 
ought to be there "witJV^ them, to help them fight 
their battles, and to share their privations ; and they 
look with a well-merited scorn upon these prudent 
patriots who would revolutionize the country from 
the luxurious precincts of cozy back-parlors, and who 
seek to disparage and to disgrace, by stealth, that old 
flag which they have not the courage openly to for- 
sake ! 

Two officers* have lately escaped from the hos- 
pital, under rather amusing circumstances. It 
appears that one of them, who had been a tailor in 
his pre-military life, offered to make up a uniform 
coat for one of the Confederate surgeons on duty at 
the hospital. The unsuspecting surgeon i^rocured 
the materials, and the " Yankee" kept his word and 
made the coat ; he did not intend it for the surgeon, 
however, but for himself; for, one bright afternoon, 

* Major Halsted, 132d N. J., and Lieut. Wilson, 1st Md. Cav, 


donning the gray garb of the Confederacy, he coolly 
walked out of the hospital, accompanied by another 
Federal j^atient also disguised as a rebel, and not only 
walked out of the door, but all the way down the 
Peninsula into the Federal lines. He had the admi- 
rable impudence to adopt his victim's title as well as 
his coat, and assuming considerable airs, gave himself 
out as a Confederate surgeon on duty in the Rich- 
mond hospitals ! 



'The hole In the Floor 



*^ov-c.vw\>c.v •. — Yaeious forms of Melan- 
choly — Confederate Wails— Surgeons and 
Chaplains — Supplies from the North — The 
Great Conspiracy. 




TTTHILE some of the prisoners endeavor by all 
' » sorts of ingenious stratagems to divert their 
minds from the ennui and monotony of captivity, 
others give up to their sorrows and pine away in the 
midst of morbid reflections and dismal forebodings. 
There is a pale, sallow, resurrected-looking youth 
whom I see wandering like an ill-fed spectre from 
room to room ; he has been a prisoner during many 
months, and is reduced to the narrowest possible 
limits of anatomical contraction. He has large eyes 
which brighten, at times, when you address him 
kindly or jocosel}^ ; but they are eyes which brighten, 
not with intellectual sunshine, but rather with the 
weird radiance of moon-light. 

This youth has a hobby. — That hobby is, to make 
his escape from the prison. He dreams of imprac- 
ticable rope ladders to be manufactured surreptitiously 
out of blankets, and to be ingeniously concealed from 


the keen eye of the Inspector, — perhaps of being 
lowered from the wmdows m a basket, like Saul from 
the walls of Damascus. Over his souj^, over his coffee, 
over his stewed apples, over his huckleberries, that 
one deep and mysterious scheme absorbs all his 
faculties ; at all hours that restless incubus, urged on 
by an enraged and merciless rider, gallops fiercely to 
and fro through the bewildering mazes of his brain, — 
especially during those periods of fearful tedium when 
he gazes out through the barred windows at the green 
fields and forests beyond the swift waters of the 

One stormy night he resolved to carry his long 
projected plan into execution, by lowering himself 
from one of the windows. Already his hands reso- 
lutely clutched the bars and his foot actually pro- 
jected beyond the sill, when upon looking more 
intently at the pavement below to reassure himself 
before the final spring, he discovered that he was 
about to alight upon a Confederate hat ; now, it so 
happened that this hat contained a head, and that 
this head was an indispensable portion of the anatomy 
of a Confederate sentinel. The lamentable results 
which would have attended his descent under such 
adverse circumstances were sufficient to deter him 
from bringing about so fatal a catastrophe, and he 


sullenly relinquished his purpose, with a dark and 
secret vow, the realization of which, if more bloody 
and terrible than would have been a desperate en- 
counter with a Rebel guard, will not, I dare sa}^, be 
attended with the same amount of personal peril. 

This morbid misanthropy assumes many different 
forms ; it is always melancholy, though variously 

There is a gaunt, sandy -haired individual who may 
alwaj^s be seen seated on a hrick, — why on a brick, I 
cannot conceive — with his elbows on his knees, and 
his head between his hands, moaning continually from 
morning till night, with a pitiable expression of 
countenance : silent, uncommunicative, and morose. 
He evidently pets up his grief; I am persuaded that 
he loves it, and would feel provoked at any one who 
should cause him to smile. They say he is a Scotch- 

Another eccentric mortal is one whose aberrations 
follow an entirely different channel. This one has 
alwa3^s a black streak somewhere on his face : no 
wonder, — he is continually in the cook-house, boiling, 
frying, or stewing something. I do not know when 
he eats, for I have never seen him yet that he was not 
cooking : it seems to be his only solace, and his only 


occupation. I never pass Mm that some rare and 
pleasant odor does not greet my olfactories : some- 
times of fried eggs, or onions, or nutmeg. He evi- 
dently loves to envelope himself in a perpetual atmo- 
sphere of culinary fragrances. It is, I dare say, Ms 
plan, to cook up his melancholy into all sorts of 
delicious concoctions, and to feed upon it in a sub- 
stantial and rational manner. I am informed that he 
is a Frenchman. 

Then there is that quiet, reserved, and portly body, 
who is seldom out of his corner, unless for an evening 
walk, and who reclines so comfortably in his capacious 
box-arm-chair, with a huge double-barrelled pipe in 
his mouth. Pie envelopes himself in an impenetrable 
atmosphere of tobacco smoke, puffing it out like a 
steam-engine, and smacking his lips after every dis- 
charge, as though he had just sipped of the exhilar- 
ating contents of an invisible glass of Lager. This 
one smokes up his melancholy ; he consumes it ; he 
sends it curling upward out of the prison window in 
huge, serpentine coils of odorous vapor ; he puffs out 
around him a tempestuous little firmament, in the 
midst of which his incandescent pipe-bowl, like an 
ominous sun, looms red through the infuriated swirls 
of stormy smoke-cloud ! He smokes, not with ordi- 
nary gusto, but with the violence and ferocity of de- 


spair ; he must do it ; it is his only hope ; take his pipe 
from him, and in less than twenty-four hours he will 
be in a strait-jacket in the Insane Asylum ; suggest it 
to him and you will hear him reply : " Gott bewahre ! 
Kicht um die ganze welt ! Sie ist mir lieber als 
das Leben !" 

There is yet another : a singularly contradictory 
specimen of the morbid. He is constantly singing, 
dancing, or sleeping. His irresistible merriment 
wrings an echo even from the sober prison walls : he 
shakes the very bars in the windows, as he leaps about 
in his jolly dance ; he convulses the whole prison with 
his laughter. He is always ready with a song, a jig, 
or a joke. And yet I know he is very miserable ; I 
am positively sure that he is racked nearly to death 
with ennui, weary in mind, and sick at heart. He 
hails from the Emerald Isle. 

There is a great outcr}^ in the Confederacy about 
the exorbitant prices which have to be paid for articles 
of first necessity. Truly do they say : 

'' The question of high prices is, perhaps, the one 
now most urgent. How are the people — the soldiers 
—their wives and children to live— how is the Govern- 
ment to get along — with the enormous and increasing 
prices required for all necessaries ? This is a matter 


which must press upon the heart and mind of every 
thinking man and lover of the country. The first 
step towards solving the problem, is to ascertain the 
chief cause of this depreciation of the value of our 
mone}^. Extortioners are a curse to our country. 
As an affair of equity, if prices must advance, all 
prices should advance simultaneously, and none 
should receive more justice in this respect than the 
defenders of the countr}^ — The value of our currency 
is not fixed and stable, and therefore no change of 
wages will remedy the injustice, or meet the difficulty. 
The principal cause of our monetary troubles is the 
inflation of our currency. — Energy and wisdom in the 
Government alone can furnish an adequate remedy 
for the evils of our disordered country." 

Lieutenant Skelton of the 17th Iowa, and a fellow 
patient, escaped j^esterday from the Hospital by 
bribing one of the sentinels. Lieutenant Skelton 
had been lying in the Hospital a long time, severely 

The Federal surgeons confined here since the sus- 
pension of the cartel are, at last, to be sent North. 
There is great rejoicing among the Faculty inview 
of their joyous deliverance from thralldom; we join 


them heartily in their self-congratulation, for there 
are noble fellows in the number of these ingenious 
menders of earthen- ware, who go once more into the 
field to cement together, as best they can, the human 
pottery cracked in the shock of armies. 

The chaplains, detained on either side notw^ith- 
standing the non-combatting sanctity of their office, 
were sent away more than a month ago. Thus de- 
prived of the medical advice of the one class of Doc- 
tors, and of the spiritual comfort to be derived from 
the other, w^e feel the loss to be a severe one, both 
to our bodies and our minds. In a social point of 
view we must regret their absence, however much we 
may philanthropically rejoice at their deliverance 
from this abnormal little world of ours, in which the 
body is always ailing and the mind is never at rest. 

A number of boats laden with clothing and com- 
missary stores from our Government are lying in the 
canal, fronting the prison. These are intended to 
relieve the needy condition of the Federal prisoners 
here and on Belle Isle. There are also contributions 
from various Northern Sanitary Commissions, and 
other charitable Societies ; also generous donations 
from private individuals, and boxes from the families 

of prisoners. 



A monster plan for the deliverance of all the Fede- 
ral prisoners in Richmond, and for the capture and 
destruction of the city, has lately come to light. 
The plan was more or less as follows : 

The officers confined in the Libby, headed by the 
most determined and desperate of their number, were 
to break out of the prison by force, overpower the 
sentries, and seize the arms stacked at the Head-quar- 
ters of the guard on the opposite corner of the street; 
the prisoners on Belle Isle, and in the various prisons 
in Richmond, were then to be liberated, the arsenal 
seized, and all the insurgents armed ; the garrisons 
in the fortifications having been driven out, or over- 
powered, the city was to be held. The conspirators 
were to be aided by numerous Union S3anpathizers. 
The time appointed for the explosion of this insur- 
rectionary bomb-shell was the fi.rst day of the meet- 
ing: of the Rebel Cono-ress. Jeff'erson Davis, and as 
mau}^ of the leading legislators as possible were to be 
secured, and sent prisoners into our lines. 

This movement was to be seconded by a force of 
cavalry and infantry which was to make a dash upon 
the Rebel capital from the direction of the Pen- 

The discovery of this huge plot might have led 
to serious uneasiness on the part of the Rebel 


Government, on the score of future attempts of the 
same sort ; but the fact that not only the whole plan, 
but even a detailed and ''reliable" account, in one 
of our leading Northern Journals of the actual occur- 
rence of these events, while the}', as yet, existed only 
in the visionary minds of the conspirators, must have 
had the effect of setting the fears of the Rebel 
authorities completely at rest on the score of such 
future attempts ; the aforesaid newsj^aper, a co-con- 
spirator, and fully informed of all the most secret 
plans, would, no doubt, anticipate the actual explo- 
sion, and thus afford the Confederacy ample time to 
guard against the emergency. The first and most 
vital requisite for the success of conspiracies, is 
secrecy : a secret, connected with a conspiracy for 
the capture of Richmond, and shared with a news- 
paper, might as well have been shared at once with 
Secretary Benjamin himself 

Notwithstanding the self-complacency of the Rich- 
mond authorities after the rcA^elation of this grand 
conspiracy, it is a historical fact, that a few days ago, 
several pieces of Confederate cannon were planted 
near the prison so as to command the streets leading 
to {Ind from it, and that the p'uards have been doubled 
and paraded in unusual numbers before us. Whether 
by this display of Rebel strength and vigilance, it is 


intended to intimidate the most desperate, or appeal 
to the self-preservative instincts of the more timid, I 
cannot say ; but, from what I see and heaj* around 
me, the vital points in question among the prisoners, 
just now, appear to be. — the stewing of rations, and 
the scouring of cook-pots ; from which I gather that 
most of them are of opinion that, under the present 
unpromising circumstances, it would be far more 
philosophical to continue to live uncomfortably, than 
to attempt to die uselessly. 



" Our Mess. 


"Q eee>wC^e.v ; — Shadows — Musical— Christ- 
mas — New Year's Eve — A Story about Six 
Eggs — Another Story. 


SHADO'^S. 95 


"ITTINTER is upon us, to add new evils to tlie cata- 
' ' logue of those we already suffer. There is no 
more sitting at the windows now, in the pleasant, 
thoughtful twilight, and watching the changes in the 
sky. The landscape of the James Eiver, — that same 
little picture set in a window frame and bars, which 
we somehow never grew weary of looking at — is now 
cheerless indeed ; the lea;ves have dropped from the 
trees, and the fields look brown and barren ;- there is 
ice on the canal, and patches of early snow on the 
river-banks ; the little green island with the beauti- 
ful trees looks dismal and deserted, and the river is 
muddy, swollen and fretful. Those who love nature 
had made a great deal of this little picture, uninter- 
esting enough, perhaps, under ordinary circumstances ; 
we had watched the fresh wind whirling the cloud- 
shadows across it, under the summer sunshine, and 
blowing the green boughs about, and rippling the 


surface of the river ; we had marked the storm gather 
above it and break upon it, in the hot dsijs, in 
showery waterfalls of sparkling cloud-spray ; we had 
seen its glistening, glowing green, shimmering through 
the last golden gushes of the sunny rain ; and we had 
followed day after day, the evening sunlight as it 
died behind it, leaving it sad and shadowy, but still 
lovely, with a pale star above- it. There was some- 
thing to be learned, and much to be remembered by 
it ; for memory wandered on bej^ond the purple hori- 
zon, to loved, familiar places far away, and the keen 
arrow of thought, piercing the veil which shut them 
out, went speeding through the far azure to fall at 
the threshold of a home ! 

Captivity with a patch of green, and a ray of sun- 
light to cheer the e3^e and refresh the heart, now and 
then, was somehow less hard to bear than now, in 
the dull and sombre winter days. 

They who have never been shut up for months in 
a gloomy prison-house, can form but a faint idea of 
the beneficial influences of light upon the human 
mind. We naturally associate darkness with all that 
is dread, with all that is sinister, repulsive and un- 
natural. Light, on the contrary, is typical of all that 
is good and true, of all that is innocent and happy. 
Death, ignorance, sorrow, hatred, sin : these are of 


the shadow. Hope, wisdom, truth, religion, love : 
these are of the light. 

Even the wretched Confederate candle which helps 
US while away the tedium of these long winter 
evenings, exercises upon our minds far more impor- 
tant influences than we would be ready, at the first 
glance, to ascribe to its humble charity of light. 
Physiologists tell us how much light contributes to 
the preservation of health, and to the proper develop- 
ment of all forms of life. If it be of so great a value 
to the body, how infinitel}^ greater must be its value 
to the mind. I am satisfied that there is less health 
in the prison since the sun began to shorten his daily 
pilgrimage, and more gloom in the prison faces since 
his rays, which used to shoot such glittering golden 
arrows at us between the window bars, have wearied 
of their sport and come now among us, quietly and 
strangely, asif they were merely Distributing Agents 
for some Celestial Sanitary Commission. 

I can remember with what a strange blending of 
awe, repugnance, and curiosity, I used, when a child, 
to lift up stones in the dark, damp cellar-corner, and 
hunt for the pale, bloodless, sickly shoots, which had 
sprouted there in the darkness, and how I used to 
drop them quickly again, for they seemed like grave- 
stones with livid, ghastly corpses under them. — Our 


prison is full of such pale, sickly sprouts, and if the 
Diahle Boiteux were to lift the roof off of it, and afford 
some sunny habitant of the outer world a glimpse into 
its interior, he might experience something like my 
childish superstition, and quickly" ask the lame gen- 
tleman in black to let drop the sarcophagus lid again 
over this unnatural sepulchre of the living ! 

The passion for music is quite general in the 
prison ; a tolerable orchestra has been organized, 
consisting of a violin, banjo, guitar, tambourine, and 
the bones. They have done much to enliven the 
gloom of the prison, and invariably attract a large 
crowd of listeners. They have given several perform- 
ances imitative of the Ethiopian Minstrels, in the 
cook-room ; these performances are quite creditable 
to the musical taste of the performers, and are at- 
tended by large and enthusiastic audiences* — Not- 
withstanding the Scotch mist of tobacco smoke which 
ascends in a perpetual cloud from the inevitable pipes 
of the Teutonic element of the assemblage, and which 
reminds one of the gauze curtains in the Midsummer 
Night's Dream ; and notwithstanding the necessarily 
abortive illumination of the dingy apartment by a 
tier of suicidal tallow dips ; and notwithstanding the 
fact that the spectator must lug down his own barrel 


to sit in, or must stand on a dining-table at the risk 
of breaking his neck, and with the certainty of suf- 
fering from a severe attack of the cramp in the legs ; 
and notwithstanding the odor of slops, and the rancid 
vapors from the cooking stoves, which are apt to 
transfer the cramp from the calves of the legs to the 
pit of the stomach ; — notwithstanding all these un- 
avoidable collaterals of the Libby Concert Room, the 
result is beneficial, and merits, and receives, the 
encouragement of all. The performers have a grand 
and exciting time preparing their performances — and 
the spectators while pleasantly awa}^ in listening to 
their humorous jokes, the tedium of the long evenings. 

Captain J. B. Litchfield, 4th Maine Infantry ; Cap- 
tain E. E. Chase, 1st Rhode Island Cavalry, and 
Captain J. L. Kendall, 1st Massachusetts Infantry, 
have just been selected to be sent to Saulsbury, North 
Carolina, sentenced to hard labor during the war, in 
retaliation for an alleged sentence of the same nature 
by the Federal authorities. 

Major H. White, G'Tth Pennsylvania Infantry, has 
also disappeared from our midst, and has been sent 
to Saulsbury ; upon what ground, we cannot con- 


Christmas ! at that name, what pleasant visions 
come thronging to the prisoner's mind, visions of 
home and the heartli, — of mince pies, plum-puddings 
and bon-bons, of Christmas trees and child-laughter, 
and pretty little rosy mouths, sweeter for the sugar- 
plums, puckering into Christmas kisses 1 What 
prison-thoughts, that laugh at the rebel bars and 
ba3'^onets, go traveling by swift air lines, afar off into 
cozy cottages among the northern snows, and over 
the wide prairies into western homes; north, south, 
east and west — over the whole land ; fond thoughts, 
winged with love-lightning 1 

The north wind comes reeling in fitful gushes 
through the iron bars, and jingles a sleigh-bell in the 
prisoner's ear, and puffs in his pale face with a breath 
suggestively odorous of egg-nog. 

Christmas day ! a day which was made for smiles, 
and not for sighs, — for laughter, and not for tears, — 
for the hearth, and not for the prison. The forms 
which I pass as I saunter up and down the low, 
gloomy rooms, are bowed in thought, and their cheeks 
are pale with surfeit of it ; it seems very cruel, but 
the loving little arms that are felt twining about the 
neck, — ^the innocent laughing little faces that will 
peep out of the shadows, with sunbeams in their ej^es, 
— the warm hands which grasp ours in spite of us, — 


all these must be thrust aside, and the welling tear- 
drop in the e^^e must be brushed away, and . . . tut 
tut ! what's in a uniform, after all, if the soldier can- 
not make his brain as thread-bare as its sleeve, nor 
his heart as hard as its buttons ! 

There is a group in a dusky corner that I can see 
from here : some one is playing " Home, sweet 
home ! " on a violin. It is a very dismal affair, this 
group : the faces are all sad, — no wonder, for the 
tune is telling them strange, wild things : there are 
whispering voices in its notes : I see that one b}^ one 
the figures stroll away, and that they all seem to 
have discovered something of unusual interest to look 
at, out of the windows. 

I am invited out to-day to a Christmas dinner. 
Good ! There is not much inducement left for phan- 
tasmal visitations, after a hearty meal. When I say 
I am invited out, I mean over there in the north-east 
corner of the room : I shaved my face, and combed 
my hair, this morning, for the occasion. I am pro- 
mised a white china plate to eat from ! 

When I arrive at the north-east corner, I enquire 

after my host, who is not present. I am informed 

that he is down in the kitchen, stewing the mutton(!) 

There he comes, in a violent perspiration, with a 

skillet in one hand and a tea-pot in the other. 



There are four of us, — the dmner is excellent, — 
I have never tasted a better, even at the liaison 
Dore^; the wme, not very choice, of course, — it is 
put down on the bill of fare as " Eau de James, cou- 
leur de boue." 

It is true that the table is made from a box, that 
the table-cloth is a towel, and that I was requested 
to bring with me my own fork and spoon ; but it is a 
decidedly j^echercJie and ceremoni(2us affair, notwith- 
standing ; my host is polite and elegant to a fault. 

After dessert, having stepped over to my " house " 
for my pipe, which I had forgotten in the excitement 
of making my toilet (an absence of mind probably 
due to my having combed my hair,) I return with 
unexpected celerity, and I find my host, and the two 
other guests, with their sleeves rolled up to the elbow, 
scouring the kettles, and washing up the dishes ! 

So Christmas-day passes away ; there are many 
extra dinners gotten up, and numerous invitations to 
admired friends. Towards evening, the gloom has 
in a measure passed off from most of the faces ; there 
is some laughing, and even cracking of jokes. A 
"ball" has been advertised to take place in the lower 
east room ; an unusual array of tallow candles ren- 
ders the room as clear as day — a cloudy day, at least ; 
there is a great deal of sport and merriment, after a 


while, and a great deal of bad dancing; toes are 
trampled upon with impunity — ^hats crushed — ^trow- 
sers torn ; — ^but the violinist scrapes away with super- 
natural tenacity, and he is the best-natured man in 
the room, for he is a " fiddler " whom " nobody pays." 
At nine o'clock there is a loud cry of "lights 
out ! " from the sentries ; the ball breaks up ; blankets 
are spread on the floor ; and dancers, spectators, fiddler 
and all, are soon wrapped in the arms of the Libbyan 
Morpheus. Many strange visions are beheld ; many 
pleasing dreams experienced ; and man}^ fond, fami- 
liar faces are photographed in that wondrous camera 
obscura which sleep makes of the dreamer's brain. 

It is New Year's Eve. The prison authorities have 
granted us the privilege of burning candles until 
midnight : we experience something of the bewilder- 
ment of owls, — we have seen nothing clearly after 
nine p. m., for the last six mouths. 

A group of us are sitting, a let Turque, on an out- 
spread blanket : we are waiting to see the K'ew Year 
in. We have no wine wherewithal to ofier up a libation ; 
but we have in a black flask, a very small quantity 
of Drake's Plantation Bitters, which has been hoarded 
up for some weeks past to serve on this occasion. 

We while away the time by relating anecdotes of 


soldier-life. There is in the party an old Hungarian 
veteran ; a genuine old "dog of war," with a coi:)ious 
dash of quaint humor about him. He is telling us 
how General Lee got between Mm and six fresh eggs ; 
I will let him relate the story himself 

" On the morning of the second day of the battle of 
Gettysburg, I had been ordered to the front by 
General , to ascertain the cause of some scat- 
tering discharges of musketry on our right. I rode 
to the picket line, and having satisfied m3'self as to 
the true state of affairs in that direction, I was re- 
turning to headquarters with the information I had 
gathered, when I discovered a small farm-house at a 
short distance from the road I was following. I had 
Hans, my old orderly', with me. 

" ' Isten neki! Hans,'' said I, placing my hand on 
my stomach, 'there's a farm-house !' 

" ' So there is !' ejaculated Hans, placing his hand 
on his commissariat. 

" I was very hungry. Hans was very hungry, too. 
We had eaten nothing that day; indeed, we had 
eaten scarcely any thing for several daj^s, for you 
may remember what a hasty march we had of it 
through Virginia and Marjdand. ' Hans,' con- 


tinned I, suggestively, 'that farm-house looks yeiy 

" 'It wouldn't surprise me, sir,' added Hans, tipping 
his cap to me, ' if you could get a bite of something 
there, sir,' 

a i Terringcttet! We'll try it !' exclaimed I ; for I 
was of Hans' opinion. 

" So we put spurs to our horses, and a few moments 
afterwards I was dismounting in front of the house. 

'' The good woman, and a number of little urchins, 
whom I found there were very much alarmed ; the 
little ones ran away to hide themselves. The woman 
said, in answer to my queries, that she had not a 
thing to eat in the house ; but I was too hungr}^ to 
be turned away in that style. I reassured her by 
stathig that I was a Federal officer, (a fact about 
which she had evidently entertained some misgiv- 
ings,) and upon my displaying a formidable roll of 
'green backs,' she finally acknowledged that she had 
about six fresh eggs in the larder. 

" * Six fresh eggs !' cried I, ' Isten neJci! a feast for 
the gods ! my good woman, I am very hungry. I 
have eaten nothing to-day. Now, here's the price of 
the six eggs ; have them ready to fry for me in about 
half an hour, when I will return. On no account 
allow any one else to get hold of them. ' 


" I then paid her liberally for the eggs, and mount- 
ing my horse, in high glee at the prospect of a glo- 
rious meal, I hastened back to headquarters. 

" When I arrived there, I found the General 
mounted ; he asked me to accompany him to the 

" Hans and I exchanged a look of dismay. 

" It was of no use ; duty before fresh eggs I 

" I was never before so much put out in my life. 
We made a long and tedious reconnoissance ; it seemed 
to me to last an age ; for, as you may suppose, I was 
growing more hungry all the time ; I thought we never 
would start back for headquarters. At last, how- 
ever, the General, satisfied with his inspection, turned 
his horse's head in the desired direction. 

" Hans and I exchanged a knowing wink, expressive 
of our supreme satisfaction. 

" We had been out several hours, and the cool morn- 
ing wind had sharpened my appetite to a wonderfully 
keen edge. Arrived at headquarters, I was about to 
dart off at once in the direction of my eggs, when the 
General called to me, saying he wished me to write 
out some urgent orders. I dismounted with a mut- 
tered exclamation which was any thing but compli- 
mentary to orders in general, and these in particular ; 
I set myself to work with very bad grace ; of course, as 


I was in a hurry, I blotted the paper, I spilled the 
ink, I made mistakes and had to rewrite the orders 
several times ; — ^no wonder, for I was very hungry, 
and was thinking of my eggs. 

" At last I finished the orders ; I was free for a few 
moments ; Hans was holding my horse, ready for me ; 
we leaped into our saddles and dashed at full speed 
in the direction of our breakfast. I imagined I could 
already hear those glorious fresh eggs frying and 
spurting in the hot lard on the kitchen stove, — I 
could scent their delicious odor as if it were wafted 
towards me through the kitchen door 1 

"All at once we heard a discharge of musketry in 
that direction. A frightful presentiment took posses- 
sion of me. 

" A heavier, louder, and longer discharge followed. 

" I shouted to Hans to spur on ; I was resolved to 
resort to any desperate measure rather than go break- 
fastless that day. 

^' Suddenly there came a terrific discharge of artil- 
lery. It grew louder, and more terrible ; peal after 
peal shook the earth and air ; we spurred madly on, 
and reached the summit of a little eminence on the 
road : alas ! what a sight met our ej^es ! 

" The enemy in tremendous force was pressing to- 

108 l-IBBY LIFE. 

ward us ; our little farm-house was bej^ond the 
advancing columns, half concealed by the smoke. 

" The Rebel artillery was between me and my break- 
fast ! 

" I will not attempt to describe my feelings at that 
disheartening spectacle ; I only know this, that to 
this day I feel the blood tingle in my head when any 
of m}^ fellow-officers begin to relate (as a good joke) 
around the camp-fire, how General Lee got between 
me and my six eggs." 

We have a hearty laugh over the story, and express 
it as our unanimous opinion that no doubt General 
Lee must have enjoj^ed those six eggs for his break- 

'' Isfen nekiP^ exclaims the emphatic Hungarian, 
striking the palm of his left hand with his right fist, 
" I will make it a personal matter with General Lee, 
when the war is over !" 

Another officer relates the following adventure : 
"What I am about to relate, occurred last winter 
during the long period of inaction which preceded 
the battle of Chancellorsville and the invasion of 
Pennsylvania by General Lee's Army. 

'* I was on General 's staflT, in the Valley of Vir- 
ginia. We had gone into winter-quarters, and except 


an occasional rencontre with the guerrillas, but little 
occurred to break the monotony of our daily duties. 

" One day, while visiting the picket line, I noticed 
a very neat looking cottage about half a mile in front 
of our advanced line. 

" You all know that to a soldier in the field, a house 
is always an object of peculiar interest : there may be 
fresh edibles obtainable there, — or quarters, or infor- 
mation, or good water ; or there may be a pretty face 
about the premises, — a thing by no means objection- 
able, anywhere, and which is well calculated to 
improve the morale of fighting-men. 

" Well, I was seized with an irrepressible desire to 
ride over to this house, and would have yielded to it 
had I not feared exposing myself to a reprimand for 
passing unnecessarily beyond the lines. One morn- 
ing, however, being informed by Captain W who 

was on duty at the picket line, that suspicious sounds, 
indicative of the presence of cavalry, had been heard 
the previous night in that direction, I at once gave the 
afiair an air of great importance, and directed the 
Captain, with a few men, to accompany me to the cot- 
tage, that we might ascertain something more positive 
about the matter. When near the house t\x placed the 
men in ambush in a convenient place, and proceeded, 

the Captain and myself, to take a closer view of the 



premises. We failed to discover any indications of 
tlie recent presence of the enemy ; nor did we succeed 
in attracting any of the inmates to the windows, not- 
withstanding that we tallied in a loud voice, coughed 
boisterously, and slammed the garden gate with pre- 
meditated violence. 

''Captain W and myself were old and tried 

friends : we held a short council of war, and arrived 
at the conclusion that it was our duty to ascertain 
something about the inmates of this mysterious 

" Acting upon this decision, we mounted the steps 
of the pretty little verandah, and knocked, in a 
soldier-like and official manner, at the main door. 
It was not until the third application of our knuckles, 
administered crescendo, that the door betrayed any 
symptoms of animation ; when it did so, we were not 
a little disappointed at discovering that its mobility 
was due to a lank and shrivelled hand, to which was 
attached an elderly gentleman in a broad-brimmed 
felt hat and intensely green spectacles. 

" We did not, of course, state the real object of our 
visit ; we had recourse to the usual expedient, — an 
interrogatory as to the possibility of purchasing fresh 
milk and vegetables. The old gentleman, notwith- 
standing his apparent gentility, was so cold in his 


manner, and so crusty in his replies, that the neces- 
sity of beating an awkward and precipitate retreat 
became obviously imperative. We were on the point 
of doing so, when I observed one of the parlor cur- 
tains drawn gently aside, and a most angelic female 
face peep out modestly at us. 

" Had I been suddenly struck in the pit of the 
stomach by a thirty-two pound solid shot, I could 
not have experienced a more violent shock ! 

" I was alwaj^s a great ladies^ man ; indeed, to be 
candid, that is my weak point, and I can trace back 
nearl}^ every casualty and conhetemps of my life to 

my experiences with the fair sex. Captain W , 

who had been also just attacked in liis weak point, 
stood like myself, staring stupidly at the lovel}^ visi- 
tation in the parlor window, and, in all human pro- 
bability, neither one of us would ever have taken any 
further notice of the old gentleman, had not he also 
turned toward it, and ordered back the fair vision 
with an authoritative wave of his bony and wrinkled 

'' I felt as though I could, at that moment, have 
condensed the old fellow, spectacles and all, into the 
crown of his hat, had not so insane a purpose been 
checked by the timely reflection that he might be the 
legitimate author of that beautiful creation, and that 


SO sanguinary a proceeding might be calculated to 
impair my prospects of winning her good graces. I, 
therefore, changed from an offensive, rather to a 
defensive S3^stem of tactics. All my efforts in that 
direction, however, proved futile, and when I left, a 
quarter of an hour later, the old porcupine was as 
bristling and forbidding as ever. 

" On our way back to our lines, not a word with 
reference to the exquisite creature we had beheld, 

passed between W and myself. You can readily 

surmise how it was: we were already rivals. Un-, 

fortunatel}^ for me, W was remarkably handsome, 

very clever, and shrewd as a fox. 

" I could not, during several dajs, drive away that 
beautiful vision from my brain ; it haunted me con- 
stantly ; it pursued me night and day ; as I stood 
time after time, gazing at the pretty cottage from 
our lines, I often imagined I could distinguish a 
white handkerchief waved to and fro among the ever- 
greens which fenced the little garden, and more than 
once, on such occasions, I had Wistar^s Lozenges re- 
commended to me as an infallible specific for a 
severe cold in the head. 

" I dreamed of that fatal beauty every night. Some- 
times I would dream that the sky was a huge parlor 
window, and that between two curtains of fleecy 


cloud, suddenly parted by a gush of wind, her blush- 
ing face looked out, and smiled upon me : some 
mornings this pleasant hallucination would be due to 
the sun, which as it rose shone full in my face, — or 
it would be Joe, m}^ colored boy, who would suddenly 
throw open the tent flaps to call me to breakfast. 

" It was not long before I found an excuse for going 
again to the cottage. This time I did not wait to be in- 
vited into the house ; the fair angel was in the parlor ; 
I had given my na'me to the old gentleman ; he could 

not do less than to say : ' Caj^tain , my daughter, 

sir.' Thus was I rewarded with her acquaintanc 
for my consummate impudence. What a lucky dog 
I thought myself, to be sure ! I did not feel quite 
so well satisfied, however, when during our pleasant 
little chat, she mentioned quite familiarly, the name 

of Captain W . So, so, thought I, that rascal has 

forestalled me ! 

'' I will not weary you with a detailed account of all 
the cunning stratagems I had recourse to, in order 
to advance my suit ; suffice it to say that I seemed 
to have made a most decided impression upon the 
lovely girl, — at least, so my vanity interpreted her 
tender manner, and her encouraging smiles. One 
fact I was confident of: I had ousted W , and 

had driven him completely from the field. That 


painful and awkward coolness which arises between 
the best friends when there is a contest between them 
for a woman's heart, had sprung up between us ; we 
were quite shy of each other ; we never alluded, even 
distantly, to the pretty cottage or the precious jewel 
it contained. 

" Well, the affair continued to prosper in the most 
charming manner for me ; I had, now and then, a 
stolen interview with my lovely tormentor, in which 
I must admit, in justice to her modesty, that she 
always compelled me to speak to her from the oppo- 
site side of the hedge. I deemed her a model of 
angelic purity and feminine reserve, and these pre- 
cious qualities of course added a keener zest to my 
tender passion. After a time, however, I insisted on 
a clandestine interview without a hedge ; she objected 
emphatically, but tenderly ; I pressed my advantage, 
and opened every battery I could bring into position, — 
she wavered, — I charged with all my cavalry, and, after 
a desperate resistance, she finally consented to grant 
me an interview, such as I solicited. This meeting 
was to take place in the parlor, the following evening. 

'' There is no hedge in the parlor, dreamed I, as I 
returned to our lines ; I will propose to her, and who 
knows, after the war, what maj^ come of it. It was 
so romantic to be loved by a beautiful enemy (for she 


was the rankest kind of ' Secesli') ; and the personal 
peril of these secret interviews, — it was so exciting 
and exhilarating ! 

'' The day following was one, to me, of the greatest 
nervous agitation ; the hours seemed days — ^the day 
a week. I met W early in the evening ; he evi- 
dently observed my nervous condition, and it seemed 
to render him quite nervous also — poor fellow ! I 
pitied him; it was a shame to 'cut him out;' but 
how could I help it ? Are we to be expected to con- 
trol the hurricane blasts of love ? Are its volcanic 
fires to be extinguished with a mouthful of water ? 
Are its seething whirlpools to be stilled by a drop of 
sweet oil ? Are its alpine avalanches to be staid with 
the toe of one's boot ? Of course not I Oh, had he 
only suspected what happiness awaited me that night ! 
I could not repress a commiserative smile. He smiled 
too (of course it was in defiance). 

" At last, night came — a beautifal night ! There 
was no moon, to be sure, — but then, after all, moon- 
light is so hackneyed ; there were, instead, innumer- 
able stars — delicious, poetical stars, so like an en- 
chanted shower of silver rain, spell-bound in space ! 

" I had my confidential orderly with me ; I am- 
bushed him in a wood near the cottage, and proceeded 
alone, as was my wont. How fast my heart throbbed 


as I opened the garden gate ! It might be all a 
dream ! I dreaded, every moment, that my boy Joe 
would throw open my tent and wake me up for break- 
fast ! Might she not have repented her promise ? I 
was soon convinced of the fallacy of this last dire 
suspicion, for I descried her graceful form enveloped 
in a shawl, leaning in the half-darkness, out of the 
parlor window, she saw me approach, and came, 
softly, to open the door for me. There was a little 
vestibule, through which it was necessary to pass in 
order to reach the parlor ; she whispered, ' Follow 
me ! ' Follow her — follow that angel form — that 
celestial voice — yes ! to the very end of the universe 
would I have followed her I 

'' It was very dark, but I guided my steps by the 
rustle of her gown; she opened the parlor door — I 
entered after her — I heard the key turn in the lock. 
' Shade of Yenus ! ' thought I, ' this is more than my 
most sanguine anticipations could have led me to 
hope for !' 

'' ' Where are you ? ' I whispered, with a tremulous 
and excited accent, natural enough under such pecu- 
liar circumstances. 

'' She returned no answer. 

'' I reached out for her with my hands. 

" I touched the door. 


" She was gone ! 

" The door was locked — on the outside ! 

" ' Zounds ! ' I exclaimed, growing apprehensive. 
' What can this mean ? Perhaps she only wishes 
to make sure that I shall not be disturbed by the 
parent in spectacles, while she perfects the arrange- 
ments for our interview.' 

'' I waited patiently for awhile ; finally, I heard her 
step approaching the door again ; I had been listen- 
ing, with my ear to the key-hole. 

'' She unlocked the door. 

" Oh ! what a mysterious thrill of happiness shot 
through my heart. 

'*I drew back, that my previous apprehensions 
might not be suspected. 

" She entered : I heard her step on the carpet. 

" The door was locked again. 

'' This was glorious ! 

"■ ' Dearest ' I whispered tenderly ' at last !' 

" I stretched forth my hand to clasp her own. 

" I did clasp it. 

''But it was not her's ! 

'' It was a man's ! Oh ! horror ! A rough, bony, 
hairy hand. 

"'What does this mean' I exclaimed indignantly, 
' Who are you, sir ? ' 


" ' The deuce ! ' answered the familiar voice of Cap- 
tain W . 

" ' Is that ?/ow ? ' 

" If I had accidentally stepped on a torpedo I 
could not have been more completely blown up ! 

" ' What hvmgsyoii here,' I demanded imperatively, 
as soon as I had collected the exploded fragments of 

" 'My dear fellow,' whispered he, ' I fear we have 
been most confoundedly sold.' 

" ' What ? I shivered out ' a trap ? ' 

'"A trap,' shivered he. 

" We were not long permitted to indulge in our 
gloomy vaticinations. After the lapse of a few 
moments, a stream of light suddenly shot through 
the key-hole of another door at the farther end of the 
room, and the old gentleman in the green spectacles 
entered, holding a candle, and followed by a dozen 
men in gray coats, armed to the teeth, and headed 
by a ferocious-looking officer. 

'' The whole frightful truth flashed upon us in an 

" We had been betrayed ! 

" The officer advanced towards us pistol in hand. 

" 'Gentlemen,' he said, levelling his vreapon, 'you 
are my prisoners ! " 


" For my part, I was so completely stupefied and 
thunderstruck by the startlmg occurrences of the last 
ten minutes that I candidly believe I would have sur- 
rendered unconditionally to the old gentleman, had 
he come all alone, and simply armed with a broom- 
stick ! 

*' As we were being led out, I caught a last glimpse 
of a charming famil}^ group : my beautiful angel, 
laughing to kill herself, was pressed in the arms of 
the ferocious officer, who was calling her his darlin'g 
loife ! (Hang the fellow !) — The old gentleman was 
looking after us, holding the candle above his head, 
with the first, last, and only smile I had ever yet 
seen upon his crabbed, surly, and frigid physiognomy ! 

'* Our feelings, as we mounted doggedly behind 
two of the Rebel troopers, I will not attempt to con- 
vey : shame, at the consequences of our dishonorable 
capture, — indignation at the base treachery of that 
beautiful fiend, tortured us into a vortex of agony 

which baffles all description. W and myself 

beheld in our common fate, a merited punishment 
for our common folly. 

''But, fortunately, this awkward affair was not 
destined to terminate as fatally for our reputation as 
we at first had reason to expect. 

"■ The force which guarded us was small ; their 


horses, too, were evidently much jaded ; my orderly 
had in all likelihood heard, and suspected, what was 
going on ; we might yet he rescued. 

''So, indeed, it happened. We had not travelled 
far before the sound of horses at full gallop was heard 
behind us. Our captors quickened their own pace in 

"Ere long our pursuers had caught up with us, 
and a brisk skirmish ensued, during the confusion 

and excitement of which, W and ni}- self contrived 

to make our escape. 

*' The full history of our affair did not become gene- 
rally known ; such encounters with Kebel guerrillas 
were of too frequent occurrence to excite much 
attention. Those who did learn the true history of 
it, however, gave us no rest for a long time after- 
wards, and many a joke was cracked at our expense. 

''W and I, became better friends than ever. 

Neither of us ever went near that cottage again, nor 
did we ever after meet with any of its occupants ; 
indeed, a short time after our adventure, our forces 
moved up the valley to a new position — a change 
of locality upon which we congratulated ourselves 

" We had been taught a salutary lesson ; the moral 
of it is this : 



''A Federal may sometimes, under peculiar circum- 
stances, trust a Rebel man, — but a Rebel woman, 
never /" 

As he delivered himself of this excellent maxim, 
the narrator winked his right eye with an emphasis 
which must have caused a mj^sterious thrill to curdle 
the heart of every rebellious female in the Confede- 




"Sawviavv^ •. — New Yeae's Day — Specula- 

FROM THE Prison — Belle Isle. 


NEW year's day. 125 


^^rpWELYE o'clock! Post No. 1— all's well!" 
-*- suddenly breaks upon the stillness of the 

The New Year is in ! 

Simultaneously a voice in the prison begins to sing 
The Star-Spangled Banner; it is taken up, voice 
after voice, until the swelling strain rises from every 
room in the building, and floats out upon the mid- 
night air, and up to the starry sky, in one grand 
chorus of enthusiastic voices ! 

After this follows Auld Lang Syne. 

That over, there follows such a noise of cheers, 
yells, clattering of tin-ware, shouts of " Happy New 
Year !" and such a hideous concatenation of demo- 
niacal sounds, as might with considerable reason have 
been expected to frighten the new year from coming 
into the prison until next day. 

New Year's day is spent much in the same manner 


as Christmas ; there are extra dmners, and a great 
deal of extra noise. In the evening there is a " Grand 
Ball" in the kitchen. The musicians are mounted on 
a table placed against the wall ; they discourse toler- 
able music from a tambourine, violin, banjo, and 
bones ; there is a great crowd ; with one exception, 
all are men — that one is a man also, but disguised 
into a ludicrous representation of a negro woman — 
well blacked up, and with a wreath of flowers on her 
(his) head, — this Ethiopian female is a First Lieu- 
tenant of Regulars ! The pseudo-feminine is accom- 
panied by a comical representation of a colored beau ; 
they are the great centre of attraction, and they open 
the Ball in fine style. 

What a sight ! — to see several hundred men dancing 
together at this inhuman, unnatural Ball, in the 
gloomy cook-room of a prison ! I say gloomy with 
all due deference to the weak-eyed, near-sighted, 
tallow-dips, which seem to understand, and to feel, 
the absurdity of their position, and are flickering 
away, and guttering down, as though making all 
haste to use themselves up as soon as possible. 

Among these heathenish dancers, there are many, 
— young men of the fashionable stamp, — who whilom 
sported dress coats and lemon-colored kids at cere- 
monious parties in aristocratic parlors ! 

NEW year's day. 127 

Oh, what base uses we may come to ! To thmk of 
placing one's arm around, and gracefully seizing the 
hand of, some rough, hairy Iloosier, or some porpoi- 
sine ''gun-boat," and whirling them through that 
exhilarating maze, reserved only for delicious con- 
tact with slender waists and soft, white hands. 0, 
shade of Terpsichore ! 

When the Ball is over, the frightful serenade of the 
previous night is again inaugurated. Are these men 
mad ? What a deafening clatter of tin-ware ! What 
insane yells I What stamping, and leaping, and 
shouting I I am informed that it is a War Dance. 
If so, the Sioux and Camanches are utterly outdone ! 

On the floor below, two sane men are near the 
termination of a highly interesting game of chess ; 
there is a great thumping and clattering of feet on 
the floor over-head, but it does not seem to interfere 
with the labor of those mental engines, whose potent 
energies are absorbed in the profound tactics of the 
chess-board ; a large circle of intelligent spectators 
are intent upon the next move, which must be deci- 
sive. Black's hand is outstretched, tremulous with 
ill-controlled excitement : White turns pale, for those 
nervous outstretched fingers clutch a portentous black 
rook, and in another instant the white king will be 
mated. . . . When lo ! from the ceiling overhead, 


where it was hung, down comes a huge ham, and 
drops like a bomb-shell into the very midst of the 
contending hosts ! The pieces are scattered right 
and left ; the board, and the rickety table on which 
it stood, are overset ; and the black and the white 
general both spring to their feet with a cry of horror, 
which is only drowned in shouts of the heartiest 
laughter from the bystanders. The icar-dance was 
still going on overhead, and a gigantic Indian warrior 
having leaped five feet into the air, and come down 
directly above the suspended ham, had jarred it from 
the nail on which it hung, and had thus ruined the 
most brilliant game of chess ever played in the 
prison ! 

Much in the same style ends the celebration of the 
New Year's advent. 

The horizon of the future is bright with rumors of 
"exchange;" there is a frightful epidemic of that 
alarming malady known as "Exchange on the brain;" 
some are sanguine ; most are hopeful ; and all are 
anxious for the arrival of* that happy day of libera- 
tion which has been looked forward to so long in 
vain. Should the ensuing month bring with it that 
glorious millenium, it will not have been an empty 
hope which prompted us all to-day to wish one 
another ''A happy New Year!" 


In this prison-life of ours, so cariously interwoven 
are the sublime and the ridiculous, the pathetic and 
the humorous, that it is no easy task to separate the 
one from the other. There are hours of profound 
melancholy, and moments of reckless sans-souci. 

Most of the prisoners, being soldiers only pro tem. , 
have at variance within them two distinct elements 
of feeling : one springing from their habitual, and the 
other from their temporary mode of life ; one springs 
from peaceful associations with the seclusion of home, 
or the luxury or business activity of city life, — the 
other from the more recent influences of the camp 
and the battle-field. These incongruous elements 
are in constant antagonism. One moment it is the 
soldier, improvident of the future, reckless of the 
present, laughing at discomfort and privation, and 
merry in the midst of suffering ; then again it is the 
pacific citizen, complaining of misfortune, sighing for 
home, dreaming of seclusion and peace, yielding to 
despondency and to sorrow. And this is perhaps 
fortunate — for thus, at least, there is less danger that 
,the prisoner shall become either a prodigal with the 
one element, or a miser with the other. 

Most people are apt, when left continually to their 
own thoughts, to indulge in a sort of post-mortem 


examination of their previous life ; to dissect that 
portion of their personal history, which is seldom 
anatomized without arriving at the conclusion that 
our present misfortunes are, in nearly all cases, due 
to some radical error in our own record. 

How many have, at' some time, sighed to them- 
selves : Alas! my life has been a failure ! 

Misfortune renders some men reckless ; they lash 
the helm — ^take in sail — and scud away under bare 
poles over the tempestuous ocean of the world. 
Others, on the contrary, become cautious through 
adversity and wise through failure, and such, retra- 
cing in their leisure hours their path of life, go back 
and question the sorrowful spectres of perished hopes, 
which haunt the crowded grave-3'ards of the past ; 
they draw from its cerements the cold, wan reality 
of by -gone years ; they cut into the body of their 
blighted, dead past-life, and seek to learn of what 
disease it died. This is rational, — it is instructive, — 
it is courageous ; unfortunately, it is not agreeable. 
Much j)leasanter it is, amid the platitudes of our 
daily existence, to lean toward the amenities, rather 
than the duties, of thought. Better, we deem, to 
light anew about the corpse of the dead Past the halo 
of a specious existence ; to enwreathe the torn hair 
with blossoms, — to tinge the livid cheek with the 


purple flush of health, — to enkindle tlie glazed e3^es 
with eloquent lustre, — to breathe into the pallid lips 
the wonted echoes of a familiar voice which may dis- 
course to us pleasantly of long departed J03''s, and of 
old, happy hours. There is indeed, a sort of piteous 
consolation in doing this ; * it is like the mournful 
solace sought by those who, having lost some being 
near and dear to them, love to plant the honored 
grave with flowers. 

It is this inward self which is all his own, that the 
prison-leisure leads the speculative captive to dissect 
and to analyze. He is allowed ample time for 
thought. After a long voyage with memory over the 
ocean of the past, he returns to the present with a 
better heart, and endeavors from the new-kindled 
stars which have risen above the vapory horizon of his 
prison-life, to cast the horoscope of a wiser future. 
He has held his post-mortem examination, and in all 
likelihood, has not failed to discover the nature of 
the disease. 

Prisons, like death-beds, are fertile in repentances ; 
like the regions of Avernus they are paved with good 
resolutions : fortunately they neither resemble the 
former in their brevity of duration, nor the latter in 
their eternity of time, — so that the prison-repentance 
ma}^ be genuine if enduring, and the good resolves 


fruitful of good if unbroken. It is, indeed, a pity 
that the fair promises we make to ourselves in cap- 
tivity, are so apt to be cast aside unfulfilled when we 
are once free. 

But the hour of retrospect and self-humiliation 
must come for all, sooner or later. Even the scoffer 
who has journe3^ed over the path of a long life with 
his back to Heaven, will turn, as he dies, and take 
one step towards it ! 

Glorious and beautiful is the Shakespearean philo- 
sophy which teaches us to see good in everything ; 
veril}^, there are books in the prison bars — and ser- 
mons in the prison stones. 

Every afternoon I notice in the street, beneath my 
window, a group of ill-clad juvenile beggars, of both 
sexes. They hold up their red little hands to us, as 
they stand there shivering in the cold. We throw to 
them spare fragments of corn bread, and occasionally 
a macerated ham bone, which they scramble for 
greedily, to carry home with them. 

There is a loyal, patriotic, and attenuated old cow, 
who also comes regularly every day to munch at the 
edible bits and scraps thrown out to her from our 
windows. When she fails to attract our attention, 
she shakes her head impatiently, and jingles the bell 


at her neck, gazing wistfully up at the barred win- 

So it is : these children, who are innocent and 
hungry — this poor beast, who is neglected and starved 
— ^these are the only inhabitants of the Confederate 
Capital, who dare openly to acknowledge their misery, 
and to show their attachment to the Yankee bar- 
barians, who, wretched and hungr}^ enough them- 
selves, Heaven knows ! are yet ready to share even 
with them the meagre rations on which they are com- 
pelled to subsist. », 

The extinction of the last hope of an exchange of 
prisoners — at least within a reasonable time, has had 
the effect of depressing our spirits to an extent truly 
deplorable. The usual games and pastimes are aban- 
doned ; even those villainous nocturnal catechizers, 
generally impervious to the most grievous calamities, 
have sunk into a condition of despondency which 
would be almost gratifying, were it only limited to 
their own number. 

To add to this doleful aspect of affairs, no boxes 
from home have been distributed among us for several 
weeks, — so that the majority of us are subsisting 
chiefly on corn cake, tobacco smoke, and the recol- 
lections of former prosperity, — the latter, a species 



of retrospective diet wliich makes a, capital honne 
bouche for a post-pranclial chit-chat under straitened 
circumstances, but which, unfortunate!}^, is not pos- 
sessed of very nutritious qualities. Hence, we are 
daily becoming more and more depressed, ph3^sically 
as well as mentallj'-, — a depression, which if not 
checked in its alarming rapidity, will before long 
bring about a state of collapse, and will probably 
lead to a series of " special exchanges " into the lines 
of that bourne from which no Libby traveller ever 
returns. ^ 

I must admit that it requires a great deal of that 
kind of philosophical sang froid so characteristic of 
the nobles during the French Revolution, who joked 
and laughed in the tumbrils which conveyed them to 
the guillotine, to treat so serious a calamity in a 
manner so trivial. But, as I have been solicited by 
my fellow-prisoners to compose a readable book of 
our prison experiences, and as I am inclined to believe 
that the few who will ever get out of this modern 
Bastile (there is, in parenthesis, a strong anatomical 
probabilit}'', at present, that the author himself will 
never get out to publish it,) will be like all men who 
have been prisoners, and like many philosophers who 
have not, that is — disposed to laugh, rather than to 
weep over departed evils, I, therefore, take it for 


granted that I am pursuing the course most in ac- 
cordance with their wishes. It has been wisely sug- 
gested that " To be great, is to be unhappy !" Oh ! — 
if it be requisite to lift one's mental energies from 
the stagnating platitudes of prison existence, up to 
the empyreal sublimities of authorship, — if it be 
necessary to struggle through the torpid vapors of 
a lugubrious " stale, flat and unprofitable " life, up to 
the dignities and responsibilities of literary compo- 
sition, — if Rabelais did not express the truth when 
he asserted that a body emasculated by famine, and 
tortured b}^ disease and privation, is incapable of fur- 
nishing the intellect which tenants it, with noble and 
excellent thoughts ; if it be absolutely essential to 
laugh when one feels like crying, — to smile when one 
would frown, — to write, when one is languid and tor- 
pid, on meagre fragments of unsized paper, mutilated 
fly-leaves of books, and greasy covers of cheap pub- 
lications, with a fork-pointed pen, — to answer roll- 
call precisely at the culminating period of a pathetic 
and intricate passage,— to hasten down to the kitchen 
in order to concoct an indigestible dinner, and to' 
have 3'our pot boiling over on the stove and 3^our 
very best ideas boiling over in 3'our brain, — to have 
hickory brooms inserted unceremoniously between 
your literary legs at sweeping hours, and the floor 


washed, and filthy water dashed about in insane and 
perilous cataracts under your literary nose, on scrub- 
bing days, — if, I groan, it be requisite to endure all 
this, pending the composition of a readable book of 
23rison experiences, — Oh, then, that this wise saying 
might be for once reversed, and that it might prove 
equally true that "To be unhappy, is to be great !" 

But to return : Seven mortal days and nights with 
nothing to eat but stale corn cake, and nothing to 
drink but cold hydrant water, would, I dare say, have 
made one of those Revolutionary aristocrats as brisk 
as a grass-hopper and as merry as a cricket ! The 
result, in our case, is by no means so gratifying ; for, 
our prison presents, just now, not so much the lively 
prospect of a clover field as of some antiquated 
museum, in which a rare collection of Eg3^ptian 
mummies might, by means of a necromantic spell, 
have been suddenly recalled into existence. 

I could not repress a ghastly smile this morning 
as I sat observing a mess of four, whose breakfast 
consisted simply of a ver}^ small quantity of \ery 
weak coffee, and who, with all the gravity of Puri- 
tans, employed the time they would, under more 
favorable circumstances have devoted to eating, in 
singing " Glory, glory hallelujah !" 

Except during the first three weeks following our 


arrival here, we have never been reduced to so 
wretched a condition, with regard to provisions, as 
we are at present. Empty shelves and empty boxes, 
meet the eye every where ; the pegs which whilom 
displayed juicy hams and savory tongues, now sup- 
port only their meagre carcasses, which look, as they 
pend there, like the shrivelled remains of so many 
vile criminals hung for piracy. 

It is a well-known fact, that those who perish from 
starvation behold, amid their expiring agonies, visions 
of superb banquets, tables loaded with the most suc- 
culent viands and the choicest and most delicious con- 
fections, which, Tantalus-like, they may gaze upon, 
but cannot reach. I know not if what we are expe- 
riencing of the same sort at present, be a premonitory 
symptom — but it certainly is the prevailing affliction 
among us. Ah, yes ! Miss Leslie's Cookery Book 
reads like a novel ! 

This month has been among the most eventful of 
our prison history. 

Its advent was made joj^ful by the unusually pro- 
mising aspect of the exchange question, and although 
the sanguine hopes entertained of its speedy adjust- 
ment, and our liberation, were doomed to experience 

a sudden and unexpected demise, leaving us more 


gloomy and disheartened than ever, yet, its exit has 
been attended by a thrill of excitement so unusual a's 
to be almost unprecedented. 

The Libby has been, I believe, alwaj^s considered 
the safest military prison in the Confederacy ; its iso- 
lated position, and the vigilance of its commanding- 
officer, Major Turner, having entitled it to high enco- 
miums in this regard. If it be true that love laughs 
at bolts, when its object is a woman — captivity, unfor- 
tunately, cannot always indulge its risibility at the 
expense of bars, even though its object be liberty- 
one quite as worthy of the affections. A prisoner, if 
he deserve the name, is always more or less occupied 
with the idea of making his escape ; he becomes a 
plotter, in spite of his scruples ; he forms a thousand 
plans in his mind, all of which begin by appearing 
more feasible, and almost invariabl}^ end by being 
considered more impossible, than they reall}^ are ; the 
strength and resistance of bars are accurately calcu- 
lated ; the pregnability of walls cautiously and satis- 
factorily tested ; the elevation of windows from the 
street shrewdly estimated ; the vigilance or careless- 
ness of sentries cautiously observed, and their peculiar 
habits and propensities systematically analj^zed. All 
these preliminary facts having been properly weighed 
in the balance, the plan is matured, and the opportu- 


nity for cariying it into effect is patientl}^ awa-ited. 
But, as it happens with those schemes in life which 
depend for their success more upon accidental and 
fortuitous contingencies than upon natural and pre- 
conceived events, that very opportunity which is the 
last requisite on the list calculated upon by the 
schemist, is also the chief one in importance. With- 
out it the shrewdest and best matured plans are des- 
tined to fail. Opportunities have changed, at times, 
the destinies of whole nations. 

It happens that the prisoner seldom finds an oppor- 
tunity ready for him when he could take advantage of 
it, and quite often it presents itself when he cannot. 
Now, some officers in the Libby having, notwith- 
standing the vigilant . ej^e of Major Turner and the 
fidelity of his guards, discovered some flaws in his 
precautions for the safe-keeping of his prisoners, 
arranged their plans accordingi}^ — they were ready 
for the opportunity precisely at the critical moment 
when it was ready for them, and five in number, they 
coolly walked out of the prison one fine afternoon. 
The first flaw was this : that visitors, .mostly citizens 
of Kichmond, were permitted to enter the prison and 
to leave it without being challenged b}^ the sentries. 
The next, flaw was, that when the in^^lid officers 
attended "sick call," every morning, they passed 


through the same door on their way to the doctor's 
ofSce, through which these visitors passed in and out 
unmolested. It was no difficult matter for them to 
attire themselves in citizen's clothing, or like work- 
men, or Rebel soldiers, and to avail themselves of this 
door as a means of exit, not toward the doctor's 
office, but-up the nearest street into the cit}^ 

Had not this successful trick been discovered in 
time, no doubt every man in the prison would have 
eventually converted himself pro tem. into a fine old 
"Virginia gentleman, or belligerent Butternut, and 
some pleasant morning the visitors who walked out 
of it would have been far more numerous than the 
visitors who walked into it. The consummate impu- 
dence of this trick was its most admirable feature, — 
indeed, it was the true key to its success. 

These escapes have been productive of much merri- 
ment in the prison, and of joy at the liberation of 
these, our quondam fellow-sufferers. To be sure, they 
have still to reach the Federal lines in safety, an 
undertaking by no means eas}^, when we consider 
that the whole -Confederacy is indeed a sort of huge 
Military Penitentiary.* 

* Captain J. F. Porter is the only one who has succeeded in reaching the 
Union lines. Major Bates, 80th Illinois, Lieutenant King, 3d Ohio, Lieutenant 
Cupp, 167th Pennsylvania, and Lieutenant Carothers, 3d Ohio, have been 


Two more of our number have been sent to Sauls- 
bury, North Carolina, to remain at hard labor during 
the war, carrying a hall and chain. This is also done 
upon the plea of retaliation. They are Captain Ives, 
10th Massachusetts, and Captain J. E. B. Reed, 51st 

Belle Isle, where some 6,000 Federal prisoners, en- 
listed men, are confined, is beautifully situated in a 
bend of the James River, about half a mile above 
Richmond. In the summer season, it is a delightful 
spot, and was much frequented, previous to its use as 
a prison, by pic-nic and other pleasure parties from 
the city. 

The river, which is here very swift of current and 
broken into innumerable cascades, is full of fantastic 
groups of rocks, and islets covered with luxuriant foli- 
age, among which it dashes, white with sparkling foam. 

The island, which contains some thirty or forty 
acres of superficial extent, rises, at the- lower ex- 
tremity into a gentle, sandy elevation : upon this is 
situated the camp for prisoners, occupying a space 
of about four acres. The upper extremity of the 
Island is bold and precipitous, rising abruptly into a 
rocky bluff, crowned by an earth- work which com- 
mands the river up-stream. 


The view both up and down the river, from the 
summit of this bluff, is very fine. Looking up-stream 
the river is seen winding down between hilly banks 
of cultivated land and luxuriant foliage, its number- 
less little cascades flashing among the rock-islets ; on 
the right bank are some earthworks commanding the 
approaches to Kichmond in that direction ; on the 
left bank is the cemetery, where the tomb of Presi- 
dent Monroe is just discovered among the pines, and 
below, on the edge of the river are the Water Works 
which supply the cit}^ 

Looking from the bluff down-stream you have a full 
view of Kichmond, with the Capital crowning the 
highest eminence ; on its left the State Penitentiary 
with its castellated turrets ; below it the Tredegar 
Works, and on your extreme right, Manchester, a 
village opposite Kichmond, on the right bank of the 

Between Belle Isle and the city, three long bridges 
span the river, almost shrouded in the rich foliage of 
the banks and of numerous picturesque islets. 

Immediately below you is the prisoners' camp, 
divided into two sections, each surrounded by a ditch 
and breastwork, — looking like a crovfded, walled, little 
city of Siblc}' tents ; at the very extremity of the point 
is a leaning flag-staff from which float the white field 


and red cross of Rebeldom ; on the right bank of tlie 
islands are a few brick and frame houses, the onl}^ 
buildings on it ; on the left of 3' ou, at the foot of 
the bluff, is the prisoners' grave-yard. This grave- 
yard contains ninety-seven graves ; at the head of 
each is a wooden head-board neatly lettered, with the 
name, rank, and regiment, and date of decease of the 
occupant. The oldest grave dates back to June, 1863. 
The day upon which most deaths occurred was the 
5th of January, 1864, on which day four new graves 
were added.* The grave-j^ard is located on a slightly 
elevated bank, close to the edge of the river, which 
as it rushes past among the rocks, ceaselessly chaunts 
a mournful requiem over the hapless tenants of that 
lonely spot. 

Lieutenant Bossipux, a Virginian, is in command 
at Belle Isle : he is a humane and courteous officer. 

The sufferings of the Federal prisoners on Belle 
Isle are severe indeed. The rigors of an unusually 
cold winter, and the precarious and meagre commis- 
sariat of the Confederacy, have at times rendered 
these sufferings terrible in the exti'cme. I have been 
assured by the prisoners themselves that the com- 

* This refers to deaths -which occurred on the island, — the sick were regu- 
larly sent to the hospitals la Richmond. 


manding officer has ever done all in his power to ren- 
der their imprisonment supportable. 

There is a bakery on the island for the use of the 
prisoners and garrison, as also a sutler. 

Many attempts to escape, some of them successful, 
have been made at different times by the prisoners. 
Among the graves in the lonely little graveyard, is 
one which shows by the inscription on the head- 
board, that its tenant was drowned while attempting 
to swim across the river to the opposite shore ; having 
one day managed to elude the vigilance of the guard, 
he had secreted himself until night, when he en- 
deavored to swim the stream, but was drowned among 
its whirls and eddies. His lifeless body was dis- 
covered on the following day, caught in a fish-trap 
in which it had become entangled. 

The small-pox has broken out among us. Here 
and at Belle Isle its ravages have been much miti- 
gated, but at Danville it has made frightful havoc 
among the Federal prisoners, hundreds having been 
already carted (I use the Kebel expression) to the 
grave-yards, and it is probable that many more, both 
there and here, are destined to fall victims to this 
loathsome and pestilential malady. This frightful 
accessor}^ alone was needed to complete the sadness 
of a picture already gloomy and repulsive enough. 


Bat these horrors have not been endured by men 
alone. Latel}^, a woman disguised as a soldier, was 
discovered among the prisoners on Belle Isle. She 
had for more than a month endured the terrors of a 
situation which needs no comment, and had preserved 
her incognito unsuspected until compelled by sick- 
ness to repair to the hospital, where she confessed 
her true sex. She is a young girl of seventeen or 
eightee^u years of age, of prepossessing appearance, 
and modest and reserved demeanor. She persistently^ 
refused to throw any light upon her previous history, 
or to reveal the motive which had induced her to 
adopt the garb and the calling of a soldier. She had 
served during more than a year in a cavalry regiment 
in the West, when made a jprisoner. She had pro- 
bably followed to the field some patriotic lover, or 
adventurous spouse. When these facts became known 
to us in the Libby, a sum was at once contributed by 
the officers, sufficient to purchase the female soldier 
garments suitable to her sex, wherewith she might 
present a more becoming appearance on her return 
to the Union lines. 


r/:;^/^'' '%x^/V'^-' 


^cNavvvavv^', — A Sermon from a Candle — 
The Prison World — Crowded condition of 
THE Prison — Cooking Experiences — Letters— 
The Grand Escapade. 




T T is a wondroush^ pleasant thing to sit, on a winter 
-■- evening, in one's comfortable room, leaning lazily 
back in a cnshionecl arm-chair, one's feet propped up 
b}^ the burnished fender and warmed by the glow of 
the crackling anthracite. The wind IioavIs without, 
and drives the cutting sleet against the window 
panes, with a sound which serves marvellously to 
increase our sense of comfort, and our store of thank- 
falness. Ah, how pleasantly we ruminate then, as 
we watch the gleaming jets of ruby and of azure 
darting and winding among the glowing coals ! Those 
ma}^, indeed, be grateful and pleasing thoughts of 
happy morning hours, fresh and green, islanded 
here and there along the downward current of life's 
river ; of present noon-day hopes sailing calmly 
onward to peaceful havens ; of a tranquil, bright 
horizon, gleaming down the stream, under an evening 
sk}^ of violet and of gold ! 



Bnt, alas ! it is quite another affair to sit in your 
stiff-backed, hard-seatecl flour-barrel-arm-chair, in a 
cheerless prison, with the winter wind blowing polar 
needles in your face through the paneless, shutterless 
windows, — your hat slouched down on the windward 
side of your head for a shield, — and to behold around 
you your shivering fellow-prisoners, blowing their 
fingers to keep them warm, and all muffled up in 
their gray blankets, as if the}^ were so many uneasy 
Rebel ghosts stalking about in Confederate winding- 
sheets ; to have no letters to write, and no book to 
read, a^d to sit there staring at your one yellow 
Confederate tallow candle, stuck in an impracticable 
cake of corn bread for a candle-stick — staring at it 
as though you might, by some hitherto unsuspected 
optical process, extract, for your own bodily comfort, 
the meagre caloric of its flickering flame, — then from 
the candle passing your eye to the candle- stick, and 
staring at that, as though you were speculating upon 
the frightful probability of having to devour it for 
your breakfast to-morrow, tallow-drippings and all. 

This, I repeat, is quite another case, and the rumi- 
nations which occupy your brain are of a corres- 
pondingly diverse character. It is all very well to 
recollect that jou once read a beautiful and instruc- 
tive lecture by Doctor Farraday on the wonderful 


chemical processes which take place in a burning 
candle ; it may have interested you hugely at the 
time to read about ox^^gen and hydrogen, and the 
many extraordinary antics which these gases play in 
the blaze of your tallow-dip, and how if it were not 
for the nitrogen in the air, it would burn itself up in 
a snap of 3^our fingers. Your thoughts do not flow in 
this channel just now — unless, indeed, the alarming- 
rapidity with which your candle uses itself np, not- 
withstanding the charitable assistance of the nitre- 
gen, should suggest the melancholy reflection that 
this distressed, bilious-looking taper has cost you the 
round sum of one dollar ! 

Your thoughts are resolutely cast in the rigid 
mould of that gloomy philosophy which teaches 
you, not so much to endeavor to fly from the evils 
which beset you, but rather to grapple with them, and 
trample them under foot. But this admirable system 
of ethics it is not always easy to put into practice ; 
so 3^ou continue to stare at your candle, and you stare 
so intensely and so long, that if you are a hypochon- 
driac (and of course you are one) you may readil}^ be 
led into the suicidal hallucination that you also are 
made of tallow, and have a burning wick protruding 
from the top of your head, and that, after all, 3'ou are 
only two candles staring blankly at one another, and 


watching each other melt away, inch by inch, with a 
sort of silent, demoniacal satisfaction ! 

Finally, you arrive at one, and only one conclu- 
sion, which is, that if there be any one thing in this 
world more utterly unsatisfactory than any other, it 
is to be a prisoner of war. He who is imprisoned for 
the commission of a crime, has at least the consola- 
tion of knowing that he deserves the punishment he 
suffers. But the idea of being shut up in a dreary 
and loathsome tomb, for weeks and months — to be 
tortured, and pinched, and starved — ^merely for serv- 
ing your country, and endeavoring, through it, to 
serve humanity ! Had you failed to answer at your 
country's call, such tortures might be fully merited. 
Stop ! you must call your moral ethics here to your 
aid, for you feel that the burning wick in your head 
is playing the deuce with your cerebral tallow. You 
moralize for a while, and you finally arrive at the 
conclusion, (you could not very well arrive at any 
other,) that it is all for the best. Now, with Portia 
you exclaim : 

" How far that little candle throws his beams ! 
So shines a good deed in a naughty world !" 

Then you fall to making a series of quaint, but whole- 
some similes, and you begin by considering that after 


all, if yon are a Iwpochonclriac, and have conceived 
yourself to be even that most disgraceful of cereous 
concoctions, a Confederate candle, there is some 
analogy and truth in the illusion ; for, is it not thus 
our fleeting life melts away in this rude world ? — and 
if 3' 01* are righteous adamantine, and not impure tal- 
low, will you not burn the brighter, and shine the 
farther for it ? — if the rude winds of sorrow assail 
you, will you not flicker, and gutter, and melt away 
the sooner ? — if you do not trim your wick, now and 
then with a pair of moral snuffers, will jon not run, 
and drip, and splutter, and become an abomination in 
the eyes of all good people ? — and are there not mo- 
ments in your weary captivity, oh, ivicked prisoner ! 
when you wish some merciful gush of the winter 
wind through the iron bars would blow you out, and 
be done with it ! 

The sentinel under my window is crying out at the 
top of his voice : "Nine o'clock ! lights out !" 

As I creep in between my blankets I feel that I 
owe something to that poor candle for the little ser- 
mon it has preached to me. I shall wander off" now 
into the empyrean fields of a pre-slumberous reverie — ■ 
a sort of nocturnal campaign against the evils of dis- 
content, with my dollar's worth of moralit}^ in my 
haversack — and ere I fall asleep I shall be sure to 


have strayed on, and on, very far into the future, or 
perhaps even to the doors of that eternal prison, nar^ 
rower, and colder, and darker, than the Libby, at 
whose threshold Death, the grim sentinel, will cry 
out, ''Mne o'clock! lights out I" and I will answer 
as I have done to-night : 

"Out, out, brief candle !" 

People are in the habit of speaking of the other 
world, as if there were but two : I would suggest that 
there are three — the third is the Prison World. 

In the species of posthumous existence which thfe 
prisoner leads, the memories of the past, the kindly 
sympathies, expressed in tender messages, of the dear 
ones far away in the sphere of a real life, the affec- 
tionate tokens which reach him warm from the hearts 
of unforgetting friends — all these seem but like the 
echoes of familiar voices borne to him from another 

The life of the prison-house is simply inhuman, 
unnatural. Different minds are no doubt affected to 
a different degree b}^ it ; but whatever the mental 
constitution, it must be influenced to a certain extent, 
and deflected, as it were, from its habitual angle. The 
speculative become morbid and misanthropic ; the 
excitable and buoyant, languishing from the lack of 


mental stimulus, sink by reaction into the stagnation 
of a morbid apath}^ It is the calm and philosophical 
who are best calculated to endure the weary monotony 
and the tedious routine of ^Drison life. Not but that 
most men are apt to become to some extent selfish 
and irascible under suffering and privation ; but the 
one naturally callous and uncharitable becomes re- 
pulsively egotistical, and the one naturally ill-tem- 
pered converts himself into an insupportable monster, 
actuated by the ferocity of the bear, and bristling all 
over with the quills of the porcupine. But if the bad 
qualities of some are so forcibly developed, the good 
in others are apt to expand in the same ratio : the 
amiable become almost feminine in their kindness ; 
the generous carry their liberality into improvidence ; 
the charitable become self-sacrificing in their bounty ; 
— to such, the influences of prison life are fraught 
with beneficial tendencies. Keligion, the ghild of 
woe, cradled in humility, and reared in misfortune, 
takes a deeper root in their hearts. The mind lack- 
ing occupation turns inevitably to thought, — thought 
leads it to investigation — investigation to truth. The 
daily contemplation of suffering and misery, of help- 
lessness and want, teach the necessity of faith — and 
faith is the leaf of that plant whose blossoms are of 
hope. Cut off from comforts and tender sympathies 


■ — from the daily intercourse of friends — from the 
habitual avocations of life — shut out from social 
pleasures — doomed to the tedium of a solitude which 
is the heaviest to bear : the solitude of the heart ; ,and 
to a melancholy which is the saddest : in which day 
after day, and month after month, the same gloomy 
scenes are contemplated, the same cold faces beheld, 
the same narrow circle w^alked, — he is lost indeed, 
who loses hope. 

Imprisonment generally renders men serious — with 
that seriousness of the heart which lifts it to purer 
thoughts, and to better actions. No place, surely, is 
better adapted than the prison-house for the study 
of human nature. Suffering develops the real char- 
acter. It is in the midst of bodily or mental anguish 
that we are apt to cast off the mask unreservedly, and 
indeed, unawares. This is a crucible to the heart. 
In such an imprisonment as ours, there is no privacy ; 
there are no moments of truce for hypocrisy — of rest 
for the daily wearing of the mask ; we liA^e continually 
as if in the midst of a crowded street — held up to the 
observation of the curious — always under the eye of 
some one. Under such circumstances, that goodness 
must indeed be sterling which never forgets itself, 
and that merit genuine which stands firmly upon its 
pedestal to the last. 


Captivity is a flail which threshes the chaff out of 
human pride. Men are not apt to be supercilious 
when they are starving ; they suffer, and must bow ; 
they are tortured, and must yield. Thej^ must battle 
against idleness, and they become diligent ; they must 
elude their implacable foe, ennui, every hour of the 
day and every day of the month, and when their re- 
sources are exhausted they must stoop to trivial pur- 
suits and pastimes to bafflie their enemy, — beiug no 
longer able to amuse themselves as men, they remem- 
ber how they used to amuse themselves when they 
were children. They are surprised to find that the 
whittling of toj^-boats and playing at jack-straws, and 
romping like school-boys, can afford even a passing 

All silly pride and squeamishness must be set aside : 
the future brigadier must sit, barefoot, with a bucket 
between his legs, while he washes his own stockings ; 
the dashing cavalry officer, who led that glorious 
charge of which the newspapers were so full, must 
inevitably serve his turn at cooking and scouring, 
like a good patriotic cook and scullion that he is, — 
he must accommodate his genius to circumstances, and 
display as much gallantry in charging a row of cook- 
pots as he did in scattering a battalion of the enemy's 




It is curious to see with what earnestness and 
alacrity every branch of learning is undertaken. 
There have been at different times in the prison, 
classes of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin 
and Greek, English Grammar, Phonography, Fencing, 
Dancing, Military Tactics and a Bible Class. Of course 
this educational enthusiasm is very ephemeral ; these 
studies are taken up with avidity, to be dropped in 
disgust at an early day. What the prisoner seeks, 
in most cases, is not so much instruction as novelty 
—not so much information as amusement ; — much 
good is no doubt derived from this morbid thirst, 
for here and there a good seed takes root in a fruit- 
ful brain, and glimpses are afforded into the rich 
arcana of science which may, at some future period, 
lead to more substantial results. Tlie prison-world 
must have its educational system ; the student turns 
down the leaf of his Natural Philosophy to set to 
work at chopping his hash ; he lays down his Logic 
or his Pi^hetoric to go to the trough to wash his shirt. 
This is a capital system — for it renders the student 
humble, wdiile it makes him learned — and this humility 
will in after life, rather add to than detract from the 
merit of his wisdom. He is compelled to learn some- 
thing of housekeeping also — which will prove of 
great benefit to him in matrimony, and which will 


be considered by his wife decidedly charming and 
economical. Indeed, no system of training could be 
better adapted to prepare a young man for the duties, 
the responsibilities, the vicissitudes, and may I with 
all deference be permitted to add, the little counter- 
revolutions of niarried life. 

He learns something of the real world too : he 
studies it by contrast ; he learns properly to appre- 
ciate the evils of idleness, the blessings of freedom, 
the sympathy of friends, the necessity of social com- 
munion ; he learns, by sad experience, how many 
blessings there are in the world, which he had 
ignored. If gratitude be indeed the memory of the 
heart, he feels how bright that memory should be 
ever kept by those who have never read their own 
names written in the book of suffering, as well as by 
those who have thumbed its drearjr pages in the 

Most people's notions about imprisonment are con- 
nected with the idea of an unbroken solitude ; of 
that constant association with self, which no heart, 
hoAvever gifted and pure, and no mind, however fruit- 
ful in resources and rich in lore, can long withstand 
without drooping into weariness, and languishing into 
melancholy. With us, here, the case is in mau}^ 


respects different. More than a thausand human 
"beings crowded into the narrow limits of the prison, 
subjected to the same trials and privations, forced 
constantl}^ into one another's society, and continually 
under each other's e3^es, we suffer intensely from the 
want of that very privacy of which the victim of 
solitary confinement has too much. 

This forcing together of spirits often uncongenial, 
of diverse tastes, and antagonistical ideas, is a curse 
to the mind. 

This jamming together of hapless mortality, this 
endless "crush of matter," aiid ceaseless shock of 
tortured humanity, is a curse to the body. 

The prison is crowded to its utmost capacity ; 
every nook and corner is occupied ; we jostle each 
other at the hydrants, on the stairs, around the cook- 
ing stoves ; at night we must calculate closely the 
horizontal space required on the floor for the proper 
distribution of our recumbent anatomy. Everywhere 
there is crowding, wrangling and confusion. 

" If there is society where none intrudes," there is 
surely very little of it where the intruders are so 
numerous. As to being exclusive — the attempt 
would be preposterous ; — as to living secluded — that 
is out of the question. You are in a whirlpool, and 
you must kee^j whirling round daily with the merci- 


less eddy in a sort of diabolical gyration. This is 
apt to render one irascible and crabbed, and some- 
times even nnjust, — which horribly jangles that pre- 
cious little silver bell in the human heart — good 
nature, wont at times to ring out, amid the wilder 
chimes, such pleasant music ! 

To add to the unwholesomeness, and to the incon- 
veniences of such a mode of life, we are allowed no 
out-door exercise. The prison is too much crowded 
to admit of our walking about with any degree of 
comfort. Some of the prisoners now here, have not 
once stepped outside the prison door during more 
than eight months ! 

Perhaps no periods of our prison life are so trying 
as those melanchoty episocles in it connected with our 
cooking experiences. 

I feel constrained to devote a few remarks to this 
subject, in view of the probable benefits to be derived 
from them, in future times, by such unfortunate mili- 
tary gentlemen as may be condemned to pass through 
the smoky ordeal of a prison cook-house ; for, a sol- 
dier, however much accustomed to stand fire, will 
occasionally find himself, under such circumstances, 
in a place quite as hot as the battle-field, and unless 
he pay some attention to the theory and practice of 


minor strategy, he will more than once be comjDelled 
to go dinnerless. 

You are reminded by the members of your mess, 
(whose memories seldom prove treacherous in this 
connection,) that it is your turn to cook. If you are 
in a large mess your tour of duty will be of two or 
three days' duration ; if you are in a small one, it will 
last, perhaps, a week. 

The first question you ask of yourself, when this 
gratif3dng information is conveyed to you, is apt to 
be this : " What shall we have for dinner ?" The 
same question is being asked every da}^ and has been, 
since time immemorial, by ingenious housewives with 
reduced larders ; you have probably heard it yourself 
more than once at home, perchance during the happy 
years of your improvident adolescence, and you may 
now philosophize a little upon the supreme inconve- 
nience, under peculiar circumstances, of having to 
answer this question. 

In the Libby, to be sure, you will not be quite so 
much puzzled for a reply. "Let me see," you will 
soliloquize, casting an anxious and searching glance 
at your boxes and shelves, "we have corn -bread, and 
vinegar, and salt, and pepper, and a little rye-coffee, 
and ..." Here you will pause and scratch your 
head, for it is very awkward to finish a sentence with 


a conjunction ; but you will have to waive your gram- 
matical scruples, and resign yourself to the commis- 
sion of a harmless solecism ; for you will probably 
recollect that there is an unprofitable "and" at the 
end of every thing, pretty much, about the Libby, 
where "ands" are as common as are "ifs" in the 
outer world, and unfortunately quite as useless. So, 
finding that 3^our '' and" must remain in hopeless celi- 
bacy owing to the absence of any edible to wed it to, 
3^ou will take up your corn-bread and study what you 
may concoct out of it, or how you may disguise it, 
and make it look like something else than so much 
baked saw-dust ; you may grate it down — (Oh, shade 
of So3^er !) saturate it with water, and fashion it into 
the semblance of a corn-meal pudding ; or, you may 
fry it, with pork-fat, into corn-cakes — or, . . . but 
your " or" may prove quite as troublesome to you as 
your "and," — so you decide upon the pudding, which 
sounds so homelike and civilized. You mix }^our 
pudding, and with it on a tin plate in one hand, and 
your coffee-pot in the other, you proceed down to the 

You find the cook-room crowded ta suffocation, the 
latter process being admirably facilitated by the cloud 
of impenetrable smoke which is the prevailing atmo- 
sphere of the cook- world ; the stoves are completely 


covered with all sorts of ingenious culinary contri- 
vances in the shape of pots, skillets, pans, mugs, and 
cans, and to back this formidable assortment of motley 
utensils, is an army of ferocious cooks, armed with 
ladles, forks, and spoons, all struggling to look into 
their '' stews" at one and the same time — an operation 
w^hich is utterly impracticable where only three small 
stoves are to render edible so large a quantity of the 
most uncookable and indigestible materials. 

You marvel why it is that all these insane men 
should have been seized with the unreasonable whira 
of cooking just at that particular time, when the 
members of \jour mess expect you to prepare their 
dinner. You wait a long time, standing there, and 
staring vacantly, and painfully too, through the thick 
smoke ; the aspect of affairs is very unpromising, but 
you must arrive at some decision : your messmates 
will not agree with you that it would be more whole- 
some to dine after dark ; so, jovl advance a few steps, 
and make a frantic effort to wedge yourself in between 
those fratricidal cooks. In all probability some 
crabbed fellow lets fall upon your legs a little 
summer shower of scalding w^ater ; or, some piratical 
looking foreigner, with overgrown moustaches curled 
up at the ends like a pair of infuriated scorpions, runs 
the handle of a ponderous ladle into your ribs ; or, 


an accidental back-hander from some gigantic Hoosier 
jostles a fair proportion of your ground coffee into 
your eyes ; — ^but you must push on bravely, regard- 
less of all personal peril, and persevere undismayed 
until you have had your toes trodden upon for the 
hundredth time — until joii are red in the face as a 
dry-T\^eather moon — until you have smutted your 
nose, and burnt your fingers — until you are half 
stifled, half distracted, and completely disgusted — 
until, in fine, you have baked your pudding, and 
rescued the voracious members of your mess from 
presenting a melancholy instance of Confederate 

Then the dinner— that is to say, the pudding — over, 
you must remove your coat and roll up 3^our sleeves, 
and go to work at "washing up the things." You 
make a great ado with your soft soap and hot water, 
looking for all the w^orld, as you loom up out of a 
cloud of greasy steam, like a species of domestic 
cherub ; and you rub, and splash, and scour — pre- 
senting a picture which would stir to the very core 
the good old heart of your maternal grandmother ! 

Then, too, you must be very careful that the 
*' things" are safe. You must keep an eye to them 
until they pass into the keeping of your successor ; 
for pilfering is not deemed a cardinal sin in the 


Libby ; your tin dippers and your pewter spoons are 
apt to be spirited away in the most miraculous 
manner, and your little store of eatables diminishes, 
at times, most unaccountably. Borrowing is safe to 
practice ; but lending is an imprudence against which 
3^ou must guard, unless you are thoroughly convinced 
of the integrity and previous good character of the 
borrower. We were lately compelled to carve upon 
the coffee-pot of our mess, the following significant 
inscription : 

" To borrow, is human — to return, divine." 

An order from Major Turner was read to us a few 
da3'S since, to the effect that henceforth we will be 
permitted to write home but one letter per week — no 
letter to exceed six lines. This is a severe limitation. 
The only unalloyed pleasure we experience in our 
imprisonment is the writing and receiving of letters. 
Much ingenuity must be exercised to enable one to 
crowd into six lines the thousand messages expected 
at our hands by mothers, wives, and sweethearts. 
The following is a model specimen from an incar- 
cerated husband to his afflicted spouse : 

" My Dear Wife : 
*' Yours received — no hope of exchange — send corn- 


starch — want socks — no money — rheumatism in the 
left shoulder — pickles very good — send sausages — 
God bless you — kiss the baby-;--Hail Columbia ! 
" Your devoted 


The 8th of this month has been one of the most 
eventful in the history of our prison-life. It will be 
long remembered on account of the escape of more 
than a hundred of our number from bondage ; some, 
destined to reach the Federal lines in safety ; others, 
less fortunate, doomed to be recaptured, and to suffer 
additional tortures at the hands of our keepers. 

As far back as last fall, various attempts had been 
made by officers confined in the prison, under the 
direction of Colonel Rose of the TTth Penns^dvania, to 
excavate a tunnel, through which they might hope 
to effect their escape. To Colonel Rose is chiefly due 
the credit of these explorations. Animated by an 
unflinching earnestness of purpose, unwearying per- 
severance, and no ordinary engineering abilities, he 
organized, at different times, working parties of ten 
or fifteen officers, whom he conducted every night 
into the cellars of the prison. These cellars were 
very dark, and entirely unguarded, being seldom 
visited, even in the day time. To these they de- 


scended through an opening in the flooring of the 
room above them used as a kitchen for the prisoners ; 
this opening was carefully concealed by a well-fitted 
board during the day. 

The earliest excavation made led directly into a 
stratum of rock, and was soon abandoned as imprac- 
ticable. The next attempt was made in the direction 
of the main sewer, which runs under the street be- 
tween the prison and the canal. The plan was to 
dig from the cellar into this sewer, and by creeping 
through it, to gain the street at a safe distance from 
the prison, by means of one of the inlets. After 
many nights of labor, performed under the most 
trying circumstances, water began to filter into the 
excavation, and finally poured in so rapidly that it 
was impossible to continue the work. This tunnel 
was abandoned with the greatest reluctance ; it was 
admirably planned, and had it proved successful, 
would no doubt have emptied the prison of its 
inmates in a few hours. Several thrilliug incidents 
occurred in connection with it. The cellar from 
which it was started was sometimes used as a work- 
shop, and. a carpenter's table stood directly under 
the aperture through which the nocturnal diggers 
dropped doAvn nightly from the kitchen above. The 
descent and ascent were made by means of a rope 















^^l^y ' 







2 <Hn ni 





or blanket. One night, as one of the officers was 
being drawn up, the rope broke and he fell from a 
height of several feet npon the table. His fall made 
a fearful racket. A sentry whose beat was within a 
few 5^ards of the locality of this untoward accident, 
immediately called out for the corporal of the guard. 
After a lengthy and profound discussion as to what 
might have occasioned this unusual noise, both the 
corporal and the sentry ascribed it to some trifling 
cau^e, and no further notice was taken of it. 

nother night Colonel Rose was digging under 
i.e ver}^ beat of a sentinel, when a small portion of 
' V- earth and pavement caved in. The sentinel, 
racted by the circumstance, ran immediatelj^ to 
the spot. "What is it?" asked the soldier at the 
next post. " A thundering big rat," cried the first 
one, running his bayonet into- the hole. The point 
of the bayonet grazed the Colonel's cheek. He 
remained for a long time motionless and almost 
breathless, until the unsuspecting sentinel resumed 
his beat, little dreaming what were the real propor- 
tions of this Federal rat! 

After many fruitless attempts to penetrate into the 
sewers, it was resolved to make an effort to tunnel 
under the street east of the prison, and to reach the 

yard of a ware-house opposite. This street was 



paced day and night by sentinels. Early in Janu- 
ary, Colonel Rose organized a working party of 
fourteen officers, who were to relieve each other 
regularly in the work, one always remaining on 
guard near the excavation to prevent a trap being 
set for the capture of the remainder of* the party, in 
case of discovery by the prison officials. Having 
succeeded in lifting out the bottom of the fire-place 
in the cook-room, they removed the bricks from the 
back of the flue, and penetrated between the floor 
joists into the cellar, under the end room used as a 
hospital. Passing through this aperture, they could 
with facility lower each other down into the cellar. 
An opening was commenced in the wall near the 
northeast corner of the cellar. This opening was 
about two feet by eighteen inches. It was found 
necessary to cut through the piles on which the 
building was supported, and this tedious labor was 
at length successfully completed with no other tools 
but pocket knives. As they penetrated into the 
earth, great difficulty was experienced on account of 
the candles, which refused to burn in the close air 
of the tunnel. One of the party was compelled to 
stand constantly at the opening, fanning air into it 
with his hat. The tunnel fell with a slight depres- 
sion for a distance of about twelve feet, then con- 


tinued slightly' ascending for about the same distance, 
and was nearly level the remainder of its length. It 
was about fifty-three feet long. The first depression 
was rendered necessary by the fall of the ground 
towards the ware-house. 

The tunnel, at its entrance, was about two feet by 
eighteen inches, and for some six feet of its length 
ran at right angles with the street, it then turned a 
few degrees to the right with a diameter of only six- 
teen inches, and continued at this angle increasing 
gradually to a diameter of about two feet to its exit. 
In order to pass through, it was necessary, of course, 
to lie flat on one's face, propelling oneself with the 
hands and feet, as the space was not sufficient to 
allow of creeping on hands and knees. 

As they approached the yard of the warehouse, a 
slight error in the computation of the distance nearly 
proved fatal to the enterprise. Thinking they had 
reached the enclosure, they dug up to the surface and 
upon breaking through discovered that they had come 
out in the street, outside the fence, and within a few 
yards of the sentinels. This hole was quickl}- filled 
up with a pair of old joants and some straw, and the 
digging was continued a few feet further to the 
desired point under a shed in the j^ard. An empty 
hogshead was drawn over the opening to conceal it 


in the daytime. During more than three weeks this 
severe labor had been perseveringiy carried on. The 
only implements used were a large chisel furnished 
with a long handle, and a wooden spit-box brought 
down from one of the rooms above ; to each end of 
this box a cord was attached, by which it could be 
drawn into the tunnel and filled with the removed 
earth by the digger, and drawn out by his assistant. 
The earth and gravel thus taken out was carefully 
concealed under some straw and rubbish in the cellar. 

On the night of the 8th, the tunnel was finally pro- 
nounced practicable for the proposed escape of the 
party. About twenty-five of the prisoners are said to 
have been in the secret ; these were to make their 
escape early in the evening, and were to have two 
hours start ; after that, the rest of the prisoners were 
to be informed, and all who were strong enough to 
make the attempt were to be allowed to go out. 

Colonel Streight and his party were the first to go, 
and succeeded in making their wfxj out undetected 
Once in the yard of the warehouse, they had but to 
pass out through a gate into the street, between the 
two lines of guards, and walk boldly away along the 
canal. During the night one hundred and nine of 
the officers thus made their escape. Of these only 
fifty-three have succeeded in reaching the Federal 


lines. The remainder have been recaptured at dif- 
ferent points along tlie roads leading down to the 
Peninsula, and are now in the dungeons under the 
prison, on corn-bread and water. Colonel Rose, to 
whose protracted labors and untiring zeal, the final 
success of the plan of escape was mainly due, is un- 
fortunately among the recaptured. After a series of 
thrilling adventures and narrow escapes, he had suc- 
ceeded in approaching within a mile or two of 
Williamsburg, where he deemed himself safe from 
further pursuit. While resting by the roadside, he 
was approached by two soldiers dressed in the Fede- 
ral uniform ; convinced that they were Union soldiers, 
he did not hesitate, in answer to their questions, to 
state who he was. They proved to be Rebel scouts. 
After they had taken him at a full run more than a 
mile out of the way of the Federal scouts and pickets 
who were close by, one of the Rebels left. Colonel 
Rose, though well nigh overcome with exhaustion, 
and fainting from hunger, made one last desperate 
effort for his liberty. Springing suddenly upon the 
remaining Rebel, he clutched him by the throat, and 
endeavored to throw him to the ground and disarm 
him ; he was so feeble, however, that after a brief 
struggle his strength entirely deserted him. He had 

contrived to get his finger on the trigger of his oppo- 


nent's musket, and had discharged the piece during 
the struggle. The report of the gun having brought 
back the other scout, Colonel Rose was then secured 
and brought once more into the Confederate lines. 

We are now subjected, in the prison, to an endless 
ordeal of roll calls, and every precaution is being 
taken by Major Turner to prevent any further at- 
tempts at escape. This rigid exercise of vigilance 
comes, of course, a day too late, and will not make 
up for the late laxity of discipline about the prison. 
Indeed it is wonderful how the grand escapade could 
have been effected without detection. During the 
exodus, at about midnight, a sudden panic seized the 
crowd of prisoners who were gathered about the fire- 
place in the cook-room, all endeavoring to be the first 
to get out through the tunnel. Some one said the 
guard was coming, and a general stampede took place 
up the stairways to the rooms above, with a frightful 
noise of feet, and oversetting of boxes and barrels, 
that must have been heard a square ofl*. But the 
guards did not suspect what was in progress ; one 
of them, indeed, was heard to call out jocosely to a 
companion on the next beat " Halloa, Bill — there's 
somebody's coffee-pot upset, sure !" 

The recaptured oflScers give many thrilling accounts 
of their adventures. One party got into a boat on 


the James River, and followed the stream in the hope 
of reaching Hampton Roads. Unfortunately they 
got into the Appomattox River by mistake, where 
their little craft was upset in the darkness of the 
night, and they were compelled to take to the shore, 
nearly frozen to death. The next morning they were 
discovered by some Rebel soldiers and recaptured. 
Another party had concealed themselves in the 
swamps near the Chickahominy, where they were 
hunted out by the aid of dogs and finally secured. 

Among the escaped are the following Field Offi- 
cers : 
Colonel A. D. Streight, 51st Indiana. 

" Thomas E. Rose, Ttth Pennsylvania.* 
C. W. Tilden, 16th Maine. 

" W. a. Ely, 18th Connecticut.* 
W. B. McCreary, 16th Maine. 

" W. P. Kendrick, N. Tennessee Cavalry. 
Lieutenant- Colonel J. C. Boyd, Quartermaster's De- 

D. E. Miles, 1%h. Pennsylvania.* 
J. C. Spofi'ord, 9nh ^^ew York.* 
J. Walker, 5th Kentucky Cavalry. 

E. L. Hayes, 100th Ohio.* 
C. H. Morton, Kentucky Cavalry. 
T. G. West, 24th Wisconsin. 


Lieutenant-Colonel H. 0. Hobart, 21st Wisconsin. 
Major J. H. Hooper, 15th Massachusetts. 

" Mulholland, 30th Indiana. 

" Yon Mitzell, t4th Pennsylvania. 

" Fitzsimmons, 30th Indiana. 

" B. B. McDonald, 101st Ohio. 

-' J. P. Collins, 29th Indiana. 

" J. Henr}^, 6th Ohio Cavalry.* 
Those marked with a star were retaken. 
Of the Line Officers thirty were Captains, and 
fifty-eight were Lieutenants. 

The recaptured officers state that they were treated 
with kindness by those who retook them, — especially 
by the officers and soldiers on duty in the neighbor- 
hood of the Chickahominy. Indeed, it was not until 
their return to the prison, where they were locked up 
in the cells on bread and water, that they experienced 
any harsh or unsoldierlike treatment. 





*^^avc\v. — Eeveries — Matter of Fact — 
Matrimonial — Consolatory — Eumors — Hucks- 
ter Officers — Confederate Currency and 
Prices — "Tunnel on the Brain" — A Search 
— Boxes — General Kilpatrick's Eaid — The 
Gunpowder Plot — Paroled — Conclusion. 




"P E YERY is the presentiment of the heart : the 
■^^ visions it evokes are but our hopes made 

The prisoner has ample time, and an ample field 
for thought. He must think; and he cannot think 
without dreaming. 

He sees the hour arrive when the prison doors are 
thrown open ; he drinks in eagerly the first breaths 
of the pure, untainted air; he sees the blue sky, 
nothing but the deep gulf of the sky, above him — an 
eternity of space ; the sun dazzles him with the radi- 
ant splendor of its light, and' its rays fall, warm and 
genial upon him, like a glorious rain of golden fire. 
He feels himself borne with a speed all too slow for 
his love, swiftly, swiftly, over the water, and over the 
echoing rails ; he stands at the threshold of his home, 
breathless, panting, the heart almost pulseless with 
happiness ; his mother's, sister's, wife's, children's 


arms are about liis neck ; there is a volcano of hearty 
greetings — a whii-lwind of happy words — a hurricane 
of kisses ! The dream has culminated, but the 
dreamer does not relax his mind's hold upon it ; he 
clings to it with a sort of ohild-like tenacity, until the 
brain can retain it no longer, and the bright vision 
fades — a purple flame — farther and farther, to wane at 
last like a fainting star, in the cold da^dight of 
reality I 

If the asperities of an activ^e campaign are calcu- 
lated to moderate the romantic ardor with which the 

incipient soldier looks forward to the glorious expe- 
riences of the camp and the battle-field, a six months' 
incarceration in a Richmond prison may not unrea- 
sonably be expected to dissipate the last lingering 
vestige, which may still float vapor-like through his 
brain, of what is in any way connected with the 
romantic and the sentimental. 

We are not Lion-hearted Richards here, who list 
at the turret casement of a new Tenebreuse, for the 
harp and the song of a faithful Blondel ; we are not 
Byronical Bonnivards chained in the dungeons of a 
modern Chillon, and destined to leave our prison 
"with a sigh;" this is no Spielburg to be rendered 
classfcal by a thousand Silvio Pellicos ; — it is only a 


plain matter of fact warehouse, dating back only a 
dozen 3^ears into the past, — a rectangular, unturreted, 
unbattlemented brick house, with a James River for 
its Danube — a canal for its lake Leman — and the 
rear of a row of brick dwellings for its Moravian 

Very little of the romantic there is about a cap- 
tivity in which the cutting up of a hash, the washing 
of a pair of socks, and the scouring of a cook-pot, 
are among the unavoidable contingencies of daily 
life. There is nothing of the heroic about it. The 
prisoner may urge a claim to sympathy, not for what 
he does, but rather for what he cannot do, — for what 
he sutlers, and not for what he achieves. His is a 
negative and abnormal condition : a soldier without 
a sword — a man with all the helplessness of a child, — 
if he is not fed, he must starve — if he is not clothed 
he must go naked, — he is a gentleman who cooks his 
own dinner, does his own washing, manufactures his 
own furniture, mends his own clothes, and cobbles 
his own shoes ; he may be rich enough at home, but 
here he must rest contented with the meagre pittance 
of pin-money which may doled out to him from time 
to time ; he is, in fine, the most deplorable human 
being that can be conceived of. But few in the 
world are so wretched, and so poor, that they cannot 


creep out where the fresh wind blows, and the sun 
shmes, and feel that the wholesome air and the warm 
glow of Heaven, are blessings as boundless for him as 
for the richest ! What poverty is equal to the isola- 
tion from the exciting avocations of the field, the 
comforts of home, — to the prison penury of air and 
light — the misery of idleness — the famine for action 
— ^the thirst for liberty ? 

Of all poetry the most unsubstantial is the poetiy 
of sorrow — it is the poetry of the plant which withers 
that its fruit may ripen. Bonnivard would no doubt 
have been much better satisfied with his long captivity 
in the castle of Chillon, had he been able to while 
away the tedium of his prison hours by reading 
Byron's superb manner of immortalizing his imprison- 

But there are some forms of suff"ering and sorrow 
which baffle the most skilful alchemy of the poet ; for 
it is seldom that he can stoop gracefully from the 
spii'itual to the purely material Let him paint if he 
can, the poetry of hunger, at a breakfast made up of 
a tin plate, a pewter spoon, and a very small onion ; 
of a hard blanket-bed on a bare floor ; let him, if he 
can, extract passion from the tasteless solidity of cold 
corn bread, — evaporate romance out of the vapid im- 
purities of James River water, — resolve into ideality 


the rancid impracticabilities of Confederate bacon, — 
or worry sentiment out of tlie greasy convolutions of 
a Richmond sausage 1 

It is a fact, I dare say not generally ignored, that 
many of the natives of Bulgaria are in the habit of 
emigrating to Constantinople, where they either be- 
come traders, or, what is more usual, earn an honest 
livelihood by all sorts of manual labor. These are 
mostly newly married men, who, after a number of 
years of separation from their young wives, — years 
spent in amassing their little fortune, — return home 
richer by their savings, to spend the remainder of 
their lives, contentedly and happily, in their comfort- 
able homes. 

I do not know exactly how this fact about the sen- 
sible bridegrooms of Bulgaria happened to creep into 
my inkstand ; but I suspect it was owing to the 
alarming rumors, just now prevalent, of the perma- 
nent suspension of the cartel for the exchange of 
prisoners, and the strong probability of our being 
compelled to remain in captivity during the entire 
continuance of the war. It has occurred to me that 
it would be as well for us to settle down in Libby in 
good earnest, — to send home for furniture and all 
the appurtenances of civilized domesticity, — marry 


some patriotic Northern girl by proxy, — and make 
ourselves as comfortable and cosey as possible. Then, 
the war over, we may with good grace plunge all at 
once, a la Bulgarian^ into the consummate blissful- 
ness of a home, and feel that our years of captivity 
have not been a mere useless void. 

The monotonous routine of prison life is not the 
most grievous of its evils. We are surprised, on 
looking back upon the past days of our prison his- 
tory, to feel that weeks and months seem to have 
slipped away so quickly : — this surprise is whole- 
some. Memor}", in reviewing the past, depends 
upon marked incidents to guide it : "on such a day 
•I was captured ;" " In such a year I entered the 
army," are the kind of remarks with which the 
mind is apt to assist memory. By such aid it 
compintes the relative dates of the occurrence of 
eve6ts, — these events are its landmarks. The more 
of these landmarks memory can see, the more it 
remembers of past life. Over the monotonous uni- 
formity of prison life, memory wanders back as over 
a trackless shore, and its landmarks are so few, that 
it sweeps over the breadth of months with a swift- 
ness, by which, to be deceived is to be benefited. 
Were it not for this melting away of trivjal inci- 

RUMORS. 185 

dents into an oblivious vacuity, what mind, however 
strongly fortified behind the ramparts of philosophy, 
could bear the fearful burthen of all the tedium of 
the present multiplied by all the tedium of the past ? 
This waveless sea over which time sails on, and 
leaves no wake, — this Sahara over which the little 
caravan of daily sorrows journeys on its way to 
Lethe, and on which the foot-marks of to-day are 
buried under the shifted sands of to-morrow, — such 
as it is, is better than too clear a record of an epi- 
sode in our lives which could not be too vividly 
remembered vfithout a shudder, nor all unveiled 
without a sigh. 

''Enter Rumor — painted all over with tongues," 
might head a chapter of Libby life with quite as 
much pertinence as the opening scene in a Shake- 
spearean tragedy. 

These rumors are generally about the exchange of 
I)risoners, or Rebel retaliation ; but when these pro- 
lific subjects have been temporarily exhausted, new 
tongues are painted on the imp's motle}^ garb. The 
fact is, that I suspect Rumor to be the child of Idle- 
ness ; for it is those among the prisoners who are 
seldom seen to read, stud}^, or devote their time to 
any rational occupation, who premeditate and circu- 


late such startling reports as "an immediate ex- 
change of prisoners" — ''flag of truce boat just up,'^ 
or "lots to be drawn for hanging." 

It is no wonder that I am called aside some twenty- 
times a day by some lugubrious hypochondriac, and 
mysteriously informed that " Oh, it is horrible! too 
horrible to think of! — The Rebels have raised the 
black flag, and ten Federal oflScers are to be hung, 
every day for the next three weeks, in retaliation 
for an equal number slaughtered in cold blood by 
Butler !" (probably for his breakfast.) Or perhaps it 
is some youthful and excitable Second Lieutenant on 
the highway to promotion by the War Department, 
and to lionization by a score of patriotic young 
ladies at the North, who taps me on the shoulder, ac- 
companying this jocose and amiable manifestation 
by an expressive wink of his favorite e3"e, and who 
whispers in my ear (loud enough to be heard all over 
the room) that "the commissioners have met, and 
have agreed to a general exchange, and that in less 
than a week we will all be out !" And away he goes, 
smacking his lips over the savor of a premature 
brandy-punch at Willard's, or a dim-visioned goblet 
of Hcidsick at " an evening party at home." 

It requires all the philosophy and stoicism acquired 
by a long acquaintance with this sort of prison necro- 


mancy, and the vivid recollection of numberless veiy 
bitter disappointments, to enable one to arrive at the 
conchision that the ''hanging" and the "punch" are 
the one about as likely to transpire as the other — 
with some degree of probability, and certainly the 
" advantage of position," in fkvor of the former. 

Among the many curious and interestiug opera- 
tions of the human mind, none appeal to us more 
forcibly than those which are the result of habit, or 
are due to the influences of education. The mer- 
chant continues to invest, long after the acquisition 
of affluence has lifted him above the necessity of 
speculation ; the actor, long retired from the stage, 
still walks the highway of real life with something of 
his professional strut ; the sailor, in his old age, still 
fixes a shrewd glance upon the gathering cloud, and 
watches the changing wind ; the old soldier, propped 
by his crutch, beholds in the world but another bat- 
tle-field, lives strategically, and dies with the word 
of command on his lips. 

I am led to these reflections by a sight which 
I repeatedly witness here, in the prison : that of 
Federal officers, in full uniform, sitting behind 
barrels, and peddling apples and segars to their 
fellow-prisoners. These enterprising, if unsoldierly 


■ — and ingenious, if undignified, gentlemen — must 
present a broad and interesting field for philosophi- 
cal investigation to the Confederate strangers who 
visit our prison. For, what though it be no crime 
against humanity to peddle apples at five for a dollar, 
or segars at thirty-seven and a half cents a piece, in 
a Rebel prison, it might have occurred to these 
huckster-gentlemen, that neither the brick walls nor 
iron bars of the Libby can, with good grace, trans- 
mute a commissioned officer in the service of the 
United States, into a segar pedlar, or an apple 
dealer. There is but one conclusion which can ex- 
plain this anomal}^ and it is a profoundly philosophi- 
cal one : these gentlemen are the creatures of habit. 

The steady and significant depreciation of the 
Confederate currency may be judged of by the fact 
that in Jul}^, 1863, a one dollar United States Treas- 
ury note was valued at four dollars in Confederate 
scrip ; in August at six ; in SeiDtember and October, 
at seven ; in K'ovember, at ten ; in December, at 
twelve ; in January, 1864, as high as twenty. A 
gentleman's coat will cost about $300 ; a lady's 
bonnet $250 ; a pair of shoes $50 ; a pair of chickens 
$20 J a pound of sugar $5 ; a small loaf of wheat 


bread $1 ; a box of matches 25 cents. The monthly 
23ay of a Rebel soldier is eleven dollars ! 

The great escapade through the tunnel seems to 
have completely destroyed the mental equilibrium of 
our young Commandant of the Prison, Major Turner. 
He seems determined that not another prisoner shall 
escape from his clutches, and spares no precaution to 
insure our safe-keeping. The iron bars in the win- 
dows have been strengthened, and rendered impreg- 
nable. A corporal's guard patrols the building every 
two hours during the night, (to the tune of the 
" Rogue's March," whistled by the unterrified cap- 
tives as they lie in their blankets) ; this patrol ex- 
amines carefully every fire-place, window, nook, and 
corner, of every room. Major Turner seems to have 
been suddenly seized with the frantic idea that we 
might tunnel ourselves out of a third-story window, 
or that we might be constructing a huge balloon 
wherewith to elevate ourselves from the roof of the 
prison ! 

We have now roll-calls without number. We are 
counted and recounted, from morning until night. 
Even in the middle of the ni^ht we have been waked 
up out of our blankets to be counted, because one of 
the sentries happening to look down into a sewer at 


the corner of the street, imagined that he saw a 
*' Yankee," or the shadow of one, crawling up out 
of the inlet — when, no doubt, it was his own shadow 
that he saw. 

Any one late at roll-call is compelled to stand up 
under guard, in the kitchen, for four hours. Yester- 
day I saw a row of five or six thus standing against 
the wall, for being late. 

A day or two ago we were all ordered down into 
the kitchen, a room one hundred feet by forty-five. 
We were, one thousand in number, crowded into that 
filthy apartment. The smoke was so thick that it was 
with difficulty we could breathe. Even Dick Turner, 
the Warden (whose cruelty has, evidently, been much 
exaggerated) was softened at the sight ; he went to 
Major Turner, and begged that we might be allowed 
to occupy one of the rooms up stairs. But the fossil- 
ized little Commandant was inflexible : 

''You have heard my orders, Sir," said he, no 
doubt raising high his belligerent eye-brows, striking 
his spurred heels together with a very warlike and 
most imposing jingle, and dismissing poor Dick with 
a senatorial wave of his right hand, '' you have heard 
my orders. Sir, and they — must — be — obeyed !" 

*'But," persisted the lesser Turner, "they will be ' 
choked to death with the smoke, and " 


" Hem !" interrupted the pompous little Command- 
ant, curling his hairless lip which looked as though 
a moustache was afraid to grow there, and coughing 
a portentous cough which sounded as though he had 
another pair of spnrs in his throat. 

Poor Dick felt that in such a cough might indeed 
be involved the future destinies of the whole Confede- 
racy, — so back he came to us, and in that suffocating 
kitchen we had to stand, jammed together, durmg 
four mortal hours. 

What was going on up stairs ? 

What was all this about ? 

It was a search for miners' tools, and fire-arms ! 

I would not wonder if our bewildered little Com- 
mandant reall}^ suspected that he might discover 
among our poor empty boxes, and our dilapidated 
wardrobes, at the very least a battery of Parrot guns, 
a train of ammunition wagons, a derrick or two, 
muskets and pistols, picks, spades, shovels, saws, 
hammers, and who knows what not 1 

When we returned to our quarters, we found all 
our little files and tools, used for bone cutting (and 
some of the bone-work too) — gone ! All villainous- 
looking pocket-knives — gone I Whatever had an 
edge, or a tooth, or a point — gone ! Whatever 


looked as tLongh it might be useful in lifting out 
the bottom of a fireplace, or digging a hole — gone ! 

Really, — when our distracted little Commandant 
now comes into our rooms, he keeps his knees well 
together, — it is necessary to be very cautious, — some 
of us might slip out between his legs ! 

Our boxes from home, or rather a portion of their 
contents, are being again delivered to us. We are 
no longer permitted to be present when thej^ are 
opened. Captain Monroe, who has now charge of 
the delivery of boxes to us, has, I dare say, made this 
new arrangement, in order to spare our feelings in 
cases of confiscation. The boxes are now opened in 
a warehouse on the opposite side of the street, and 
such proportion of their contents as is deemed con- 
sistent with Captain Monroe's ideas of honesty and 
fair dealing between enemies, is doled out to us in 
blankets which we carry down to the street-door 
for that purpose. Yesterday one officer received as 
his share of his own box, two Northern newspapers 
and a Bologna sausage ; another one was rendered 
happy and comfortable b}^ being given, out of the con- 
tents of a barrel, a package of salt and three tin can- 
dlesticks ! 

During the recent three months of starvation, we 


conld see our boxes piled up in the warehouses near 
the prison, whilst we had hard work to keep soul and 
body together upon prison rations ; and every night 
we could hear these boxes being broken open and 
pillaged. All this was in retaliation, we heard, for 
the alleged stoppage of boxes sent from here to Rebel 
prisoners at the North. But why refuse to give us 
even the coffee and sugar sent us by our families, when 
coffee and sugar are regular rations given to Rebel 
prisoners in the Northern prisons ? 

Why confiscate, wholesale, the boxes sent by Sani- 
tary and other charitable Societies at the North ? 

Oh, what a lucky hitch for the Rebels in the box 
question ! 

Some days ago we sent money, through the War- 
den, to purchase some under clothing in Richmond. 
Upon receiving the articles sent for, we were not a 
little surprised to discover stamped on them in blue 
letters :" Sanitary Commission. Philadelphia." Upon 
reproaching Mr. Dick Turner for this rather unfair 
proceeding of selling us articles which it was intended 
should be distributed to us gratuitously, he replied 
with such charming impudence that we could not get 

angry with him, " Why, gentlemen — ^they are a d d 

sight better goods than you could buy any where in 
Richmond, for the same money !" 


When it became known, a few days ago, that Gene- 
ral Kilpatrick had crossed the Rappahannock and was 
on his way to Richmond, with the probable design of 
liberating tlie Union prisoners confined here, the ex- 
citement was tremendous. We had suspected that 
something unusual was occurring from the fact that 
we could not obtain the daily papers, and from the 
hurried movement of troops over the bridges across 
the James river, and through the streets, within sight 
of the prison. All the city troops and home guards 
were sent to the front. Indeed, among the killed and 
wounded in the engagement at Green's Farm, were 
some of the very soldiers who had stood guard, a few 
days before, around our prison. 

The stairs leading from the first to the second floor 
were now unaccountably taken down every evening at 
sunset, by means of a rope and pulleys, and a senti- 
nel, musket in hand, stood under the opening, with a 
lighted candle near him, ready to prevent any move- 
ment on our part in that direction. An order was 
read to us from Major Turner to the effect that any 
prisoner approaching the windows, would do so at the 
jDcril of his life ; the sentries having received strict 
orders to shoot any one who should touch the prison 
bars. It was rumored among us that some of the 
prisoners had written an anonymous communication 


to Major Turner, informing him that unless he became 
more lenient in his treatment of us they would " cut 
his throat," and, as it was quite natural that the 
young commandant should object to this unpleasant 
jDrocess, it was surmised that all these j)recautions 
were taken with a view to its prevention. 

But when we learned, through some of the negroes 
who swept the prison, that General Kilpatrick, with a 
brigade of cavalry, was within a few miles of Rich- 
mond, the true cause of these startling preventive 
measures was at once apparent to us. It was no 
doubt feared that we would make an effort to break 
out, overpower the guards, and endeavor to reach the 
Federal forces. 

On the night of the 3d, we could distinctly hear the 
cannonading which was going on near the Chicka- 
hominy. This would have been exciting enough 
nnder any circumstances, but our anxiety was not a 
little heightened by the well-authenticated informa- 
tion that the cellars of the prison had been mined, 
and that it was the desperate determination of Major 
Turner to blow us up sooner than allow us to be 
liberated by Kilpatrick's raiders. Many were at first 
skeptical with regard to this barbarous gunpowder- 
plot, but so positive was the evidence in support of 
its truth, that the conviction of its reality soon be- 


came general. If any skeptics remained, their doubts 
must have been removed by the statements published 
in the Richmond papers, to the effect that measures 
"not necessary to mention at present," had been 
taken by Major Turner to thwart the proposed libera- 
tion of the oflicers in the Libb}^, by General Kilpat- 
rick, in case of his capturing the capital. Indeed, 
some of the prison ofllcials, after the retreat of the 
raiders, made no secret of it. 

With that sort of philosophical nonchalance so sure 
to be acquired during a long captivit}^, we laughed at 
Major Turner's gunpowder plot, and many jokes were 
enjoyed at the expense of this modern Guy Fawkes. 
To be sure, with General Kilpatrick'thundering away 
at the fortifications of Richmond, and with the 
rumored two hundred pounds of gunpowder under 
our feet, our feelings on the night referred to, were 
not of the most enviable character. Some of the 
more nervous, felt quite ill at ease, and some one, as 
I sat up in my blankets listening to the cannonading, 
whispered tremblingly in my ear, that he had it from 
the very best authorit}^ that a soldier was sent down 
to where the kegs of powder were buried, regularly 
every half hour during the night, with a lighted candle, 
to see that the fuse was all right ! 


On the 4tli, the body of that gallant soldier, Colo- 
nel Dahlgren, was brought into the city. 

To-day the rumor is that General Kilpatrick has 
retired. The rebels are of course jubilant over the 
escape of their capital from the danger which threat- 
ened it. The newspapers are very bitter in their 
denunciations against the raiders. They say that 
Colonel Dahlgren's body should have been gibbetted 
upon the very spot where it was found, — that the 
prisoners taken from General Kilpatrick's command 
ought to be immediately hung, — and that if the Con- 
federate capital had been captured, it would have 
been the signal for the raising of the black flag in 
every State of the Confederacy. 

Peace reigns once more in the prison. The excite- 
ment consequent upon General Kilpatrick's raid has 
died out among us. 

There are now rumors, instead, of our being re- 
leased in what the Rebel authorities would call a 
legitimate way ; by which I suppose them to mean 
that we are to get out of the prison through the door 
instead of through the roof. 

The shooting at prisoners at the windows still con- 
tinues. The sentinels seem to consider it very fine 
sport, especially those of their number who, never 
having been at the front, are now afforded an oppor- 


tunity of displaying their boasted chivalry — with the 
most perfect safety to themselves. We can see these 
gallant fellows, with their cocked muskets in their 
hands, stealthily walking their beats, and glancing 
wistfully up at our windows in the hope of " getting 
a shot," as if they were only festive sportsmen, and 
we bat so many squirrels. 

No^ and then the report of a gun proves that 
these vigilant sportsmen are not idle. But a few 
hours ago, one of them was guilty of the most cow- 
ardly and cold-blooded attempt at assassination 
which can be conceived of Lieut. Hammond, a 
cavalry officer, one of our number, was standing in 
one of the boarded enclosures used as a sink, when 
he was fired at from the pavement below by a dast- 
ardly coward in the shape of a Rebel sentinel. The 
ball grazed Lieut. Hammond's cheek, cut a j^iece 
out of his ear, and pierced the rim of his hat. There 
had been no violation of orders on the prisoner's 
part — there was no window there — he was not even 
looking out. The scoundrel who fired at him had 
been overheard by some of the prisoners to say that 
he was ''bound to shoot one of those d — d Yankees" 
before he left his beat. 

We learned afterwards that the sentinel had been 
put under arrest. 


There is great joy in the prison. We have just 
heard that forty-eight of our number are to be sent 
to City Point to-morrow on our way to the North. 
Those whose confidence in the ability of Major- Gen- 
eral Butler to effect an exchange had remained 
unshaken, have not been disappointed. JVJio ai^e to 
go ? This is the question on the lips of every one. 

There are moments in our lives the recollection of 
which possesses all the unsubstantial qualities of 
a dream. 

The first daj^s of liberation after a protracted cap- 
tivity are veiled in the misty atmosphere of unre- 

I hear around me the convivial jingling of glasses, 
the unnatural laughter of familiar prison voices ; 
before me on a spotless table-cloth are an odorous 
sirloin steak, and a glittering decanter of sherry. 

Am I to awake presently, and find myself in my 
blankets on the cold, hard floor of the Libby, with a 
bayonet over my head and a voice shouting in harsh 
Confederate accents : '' Get up, here, for roll-call !" 

Am I really at '' Murphy's" — in Annapolis — under 
the shadow of the glorious old flag ? 


Even so — it must be true. There is no wild phan- 
tasy about this redolent steak — this wine is palpable 
and warming — th,ere is the unmistakable ring of 
liberty about the mirthful voices around me. 

The happy voyage down the James river to City 
Point — the first glimpse for so many long, weary 
months, of the dear old flag flying from the truce 
boat — the loud cheers for it — the comfortable cabin, 
made more delightful for us by the courteous em- 
pressement of Major Mulford, and the cordial sym- 
pathy of good Miss Dix— the hearty rounds of cheers 
from the blockading squadron — Old Point Comfort 
and Point Lookout — our glorious trip up Chesapeake 
Bay — our stepping once more upon loyal soil — a 
delicious bath — clean, new clothing — the sense of 
regained freedom — an appetizing dinner at genial- 
hearted Murphy's — all these, pass like the vapory 
shadows of a vision through my brain, which whirls 
and reels with delight (it is not the wine) as I begin 
at last to be convinced that I am not dreaming, but 
that I am once more substantially and jDositively — 




Some twenty deaths occurred, of officers confined 
in the Libby, from July, 1863, to March of the present 
year. Among them that of the lamented Major 
Robert Morris, of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavahy, 
(Rush's Lancers,) who had been a sufferer from 
scurvy, produced by the quality of the rations upon 
which he was compelled to subsist in the prison. 

Since this narrative was completed. Captain (now 
Major) H. W. Sawyer, 1st New Jersey Cavalry, and 
Captain Flinn. sentenced to be hung in retaliation 
for the execution of Rebel officers in the West, and 
long held as hostages in the Libby Prisen, have been 


Benjamin Swearer, Color-Sergeant of the 9th 
Maryland, was among those paroled on the Tth of 
March, and came North with us on the truce-boat 
*' City of New York." No sooner had he been trans- 
ferred to the Union steamer than he unwrapped from 


204 • LIBBY LIFE. 

around his body an American flag, which, with three 
hearty cheers, was hung up in the cabin. This was 
the regimental flag of the 9th Maryland. On the 
18th of last October, the Rebel Imboden attacked 
Colonel Simpson's regiment, then doing duty at 
Charlestown, Ya., and among the captured was Ser- 
geant Swearer. This brave man had torn one of the 
flags from the lance and had concealed it around his 
body ; the other flag he refused to surrender, although 
threatened with instant death by his captors, and tore 
it into shreds before their eyes. During more than 
four months he had been a prisoner on Belle Isle, and 
had succeeded in concealing this flag, although fre- 
quent searches were kiade for it by the Rebel officials, 
who had reason to suspect that Swearer had brought 
it with him. ' Upon our arrival at Annapolis the 
cherished flag was attached to a lance, and the gal- 
lant Color- Sergeant stepped once again upon loyal 
soil under the 'shadow of that banner he had sworn 
never to forsake, and which, defended and shielded 
on the battle-field and in the prison, he now bore 
proudly back, unpolluted by Rebel hands, to his 



LiBBY Prison, Richmond, Va., > 
December 29, 1863. ) 

Lieutenant-Colonel Cavada having drawn nu- 
merous sketches illustrative of our life in this prison, 
and having collected many interesting notes in con- 
nection with the same, we, the undersigned,, respect- 
fully request him to have them published, in book 
form, as soon as jDOSsible after his liberation. 

Brigadier-General Neal Dow, 
Colonel Chaa. W. Tilden, . 

" Louis de Cesnola, . 
Lieutenant Tbos. Morley, . 
Captain E. Charlier, . 

" E. W. Atwood, 
Lieutenant Butler Coles, 

" D. P. Rennie, . 

W. E. H. Fentress, 
Captain Wm. C.Wilson, 
Lieutenant Wm. Nice, 
M.' C. Wadsworth, 
Lieutenant J. Arthur Richardson. 
" Mason Gray, 
" George A. Chandler, 
Captain Charles Hasty, 
•"Captain E. Szabad, 
Lieutenant Geo. C. Houston, 
Major Samuel Mclrvin, 
Captain Fred'k Barton, 

" Francis Irch, . 
Lieutenant Henry Alert, 
Captain Jas. W. Vanderhoff, 
Lieutenant Hugo Chandler, 
Captain Wm. Spring, . 

United States Volunteers. 
16th Maine Volunteers. 
4th New York Cavalry. 
12th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

16th Maine Volunteers. 

United States Navy. 

General French's Staff. 
Ist New York Cavalry. 
45th New York Volunteers. 



Lieutenant T. Leydliecker, . 

" Edward Kunekel, 
Captain Jno. Heil. 

" Henry Deitz, . 
Lieutenant Henry Bath, 

*' Louis Lindemeyer, 

*' George Scliule, . 

" Adam Hanf, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Adolf Haack 
Lieutenant Otto Gerson, 
Adjutant C. L. Alstaedt, 
Captain Otto Mussehl, 

W. Domnchke, 
Major S. Roovacs, 
Adjutant Albert Walber, 
Lieutenant George M. Brush, 

" S. S. Stearns, . 

" Victor Mylius, . 
Major Alex. Von Mitzel, 
Captain Oscar Templeton, . 
" James A. Carman, 
Lieutenant Eugene Hepp, . 
Lieutenant J. F. Newbrandt, 

'' Geo. L. Garrett, . 

" Jno. Q. Carpenter, 
Captain H. W. Sawyer, 
Lieutenant James U. Childs, 
Adjutant O. Owen Jones, . 
Lieutenant Thomas Huggins, 

" C. J. Davis, 
Major H. A. White, . 
Lieutenant Jno. D. Simpson, 

" TeatBiekham, . 

" M. M. Moore, . 

" Morton Tower, . 

" Joseph Chatburn, 

" H. B. Seeley, 

" Jno. McGovern, 

45th New York Volunteers. 


26th Wisconsin Volunteers. 
4th Maine Volunteers. 

4th Missouri Cavalry. 

1st New Jersey Cavalry. 
16th Maine Volunteers. 
2d New York Cavalry. 
2d New York Volunteers. 
1st Massachusetts Cavalry. \ 
13th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
10th Indiana Volunteers. 
19th United States Infantiy. 
6th Michigan Cavalry. 
13th Massachusetts Volunteers. 
150th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
86th New York Volunteers. 
73d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 



A. D. Renshaw, . • 
James McCaulley 
Lieutenant Harry E. Rulon, 

" Edward P. Brooks, 
Captain Geo. G. Davis, 
" M. R. Baldwin. 
Lieutenant A. W. Sprague, 

'' H. A. Curtice, . 
Captain P. H. Hart, . 
Lieutenant D. J. Connolly, . 

" C. H. Drake, 
Captain E. C. Alexander, . 
Lieutenant J. Harl'd Richardson 

" W. H. H. Wilcox, 
Lieutenant Nathan A. Robbins, 

" E. L. Palmer, . 

Major Wm. D. Morton, 
Adjutant George H. Gamble, 
Lieutenant Joseph H. Potts, 

" George R. Barce, 

*' Wm" Nelson, 

*' G. Veltfort, 
Adjutant Jno. Sullivan, 
Lieutenant H. A. Hubbard 

" A. W. Locklin, 

" H. E. INIosher, 
Captain C. C- Comer, . 
Lieutenant E. Chas. Parker 

«' D. E. Sears, 

" Jno. Ryan, 
Captain Edmund H. Mass 
Lieutenant Hyde Crocker, 
Captain Wm. K Boltz, 
Lieutenant T. Paulding, 

" Freeman C. Gay 

« T. J. Crosley, 

" Fuller Dingley 
Captain J. M. Dushaue, 

. United States Navy. 

. 114th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

. 16th Wisconsin Volunteers. 

. 4th Maine Volunteers. 

. 2d Wisconsin Volunteers. 

. 24th Michigan Volunteers. 

. 157th New York Volunteers. 

. 19th Indiana Volunteers. 

. 63d New York Volunteers. 

. 142d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

. 1st Delaware Volunteers. 

, 19th Indiana Volunteers. 

. 10th New York Volunteers. 

. 4th Maine Volunteers. 

. 57th New York Volunteers. 

. 14th New York Cavalry. 

. 8fch Illinois Cavalry. 

. 75th Ohio Volunteers. 

. 5th Michigan Cavalry. 

. United States Infantry. 

. 54th New York Volunteers. 

. 7th Rhode Island Volunteers. 

. 12th New York Cavalry. 

. 94th New York Volunteers. 

. 12th New York Cavalry. 

. 94th New York Volunteers. 

. 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
. 88th " " 

. 1st New Jersey Cavalry. 

. 6th United States Cavalry. 
. 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
. 57th 
. 7th Rhode Island Volunteers. 




Major Frank Place, 
Lieutenant Thos. J. Dean, . 
Captain Emile Frey, . 
Lieutenant Hugo Gerliardt, 
Lieutenant Chas. Fritze, 
Wm. Kruger, 

Lieutenant Fred'lc Schweinforth, 
Captain Robert H. Day, 
" "Wm. B. Avery, 
Lieutenant Thos. Meyers, . 

'' S. R Colladay, . 

" Welcome Fenner, 
Captain Alfred Heffley, 
Wm. H. Fogg, . 
Adjutant Jno A. Garcis. 
Lieutenant Henry Apple, 

" Leopold Meyer, 

" Gustave Hellenberg, 
Captain David Schortz, 
Lieutenant W. W. Paxton, 
Major Jno. E. Clark, . 
Lieutenant Henry H Hinds. 

" H. V. Kniglit, 
Captain S. A Urquhart, 
Lieutenant S. H. Ballard, 
Captain C. C Widdis, . 
Lieutenant D. W. Hakes, 
Major Chas. Farnsworth, 
Major W. N. Denny, . 
Lieutenant Eugene H. FaleSj 

" J. Bedwell, 

" Morgan Kupp, 
Colonel W. H. Powell, 
Lieutenant Henry S. Piatt, 
Captain Charles E Rowan, 
" Matt Boyd, . 
" Wm. M. Kendall, 
Lieutenant H. H. Tillotson, 

157th New York Volunteers. 
5th Michigan Cavalry. 
83d Illinois Volunteers. 
24th " " 

24th Illinois Volunteers. 
2d Missouri Volunteers. 

5Gth Pennsylvania Vohmteers. 
132d New York Volunteers. 
107 Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
2d Rhode Island Cavalry. 
142d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
United States Navy. 
1st Maryland Cavalry. 

1st Rhode Island Volunteers. 
12th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
140th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

57th " " 

20th Michigan Volunteers. 

5th Michigan Cavalry. 
150th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
18th Connecticut Volunteers. 
1st Connecticut Cavalry. 

167th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 



Captain David Getman, 

" Eberhart, 
Lieutenant E. J. Spaulding, 
Colonel A. H. Tippen, . 
L. S Stone, 
Lieutenant Will. Blanchard, 

" Andrew StoU, , 
John Halderman, 
Lieutenant Jeff Weakley, 

" K. J. Connolly. 
Captain Wra. Wallick, 
Lieutenant James Adams, 

" James C.Woodrow, 

" Jno. Bradford, 
Captain Wm. R. Wright, 
Lieutenant S. S. Holbrook, 
Captain James M. Imbrie, 
" Wm. F. Martins, 
Lieutenant H. Reece Whiting, 
Captain Chas. B' ron, . 
Lieutenant John Ritchie, 
Captain J. H. Whelan, 
Wm. H. A. Forsyth, . 
Lieutenant J. W. Mundy, 

" B. F. Heuington. 
Colonel F. Bartleson, 
Lieutenant H. P. Freeman, 

" J. H. Gageby, 
Colonel W. P. Kindrick, 
Lieutenant Rich'd H. Pond, 
Captain W. C. Rossman, . 
Lieutenant Samuel T. C Mervin. 

" Judson S. Paul, 

" John Sweadner, 
Colonel Wm B. McCreery, . 
Lieutenant H. S. Bevington, 
Captain David Hay, . 
" Geo H. Starr, 

58th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

2d United States Cavalry. 
6th " " 

12th U. S. Infantry. 



Lieutenant Chas. H Livingston, 
" Frank A. Hubbell, 
" Mendes C. Bryant, 
" Stephen D. Carpente] 
" Jobn "W. McComas, 
" Wm J. Morris, . 

Captain Geo. C Gordon, 
" J. W. Chamberlain, 

Lieutenant "Wm. L. Watson, 
" N. L. Wood, Jr., 
" L. N. Duchesney, 
" Wm. A Dailey, . 
" James H. Kellogg, 
" Wm. Bierbower, 

Captain Nath. Rollins, 
" Thos. Reed, . 

Mr. George Reed, 

Captain G. M. White, . 

Lieutenant H. C. Smith, 

Captain John Bird, 

Lieutenant S. P. Gamble, . 

" Wallace F. Randolph 

Major E. M. Pope, 

Lieutenant G. S. Goal, 

Captain M. Gallagher, . 
" John Kennedy, 
** Kin. S. Dygert, 

Lieutenant Samuel G. Boone, 
" George W. Grant, 

Lieut. -Colonel Ivan N. Walker, 

Lieutenant James F. Pool, . 
" James Kane, 
" Geo. W. Chandler, 
" Joseph P. Rockwell, 
" J. A. Delano, . 
" Wm. Oakley Butler, 

Colonel William G. Ely, . 

Lieutenant J. Paul Jones, . 

87th Pensylvania Volunteers 

57th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
5th United States Artillery. 

73d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
88th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

18th Connecticut Volunteers. 
55th 0!iio Volunteers. 



Lieutenant Lewis R. Titus, . 
" Jolin Davidson, . 
" H. B. Kelly, 
" Rufua, F. Tliorne, 

Captain John W. Lewis, 
" S. D. Conover, 

Lieutenant George Maw, 

" J. N.Whitney, . 

Captain B. G. Caster, . 

Lieutenant James Hersch, . 

Charles W. Earle, 

Lieutenant J. S. Powers, . 

T. W. Boyce, 

Captain John Teed, 

Lieutenant W. B. Clark, 

" Thompson Lennig 

Thomas Brown, . 

Captain A. J. Makepiece, . 

Lieutenant L. P. Williams, . 
" George H. Morisey, 

Lieut. -Colonel R. S. Northcott, 
" Jno. W. Kennedy 

" Chas. W. Drake, 

" M. V.B.Morrison 

Riley Johnson, . 

Edward Potter, . 

Captain Daniel F. Kelly, 
" John Kelly, . 

Lieutenant Samuel Irvin, 
" John W. Austin, 
" Michael Hoffman, 

" Adam Dixon, 

Captain Henry C. Davis, 

Lieutenant Thomas H. McKee 

J B. Sampson, 

A. W. Loomis, 

E. B. Bascom, 

Cyrus P. Heffley, . 

6th Kentucky Cavalry. 
4th Kentucky Cavalry. 
86th Ohio. 

116th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
United States Navy. 

73d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 



S. H. M. Byers, . 
Lieutenant Byron Davis, 
Lieutenant A. Wilson Norris, 
Sidney Meade, 
Lieutenant William W. Calkins 

" C. W. Catlett, . 
Captain William M. Murry, 

" Weston Rouand, 
Lieutenant Cbaiies P. Potts, 

" William Heffner, 
Captain Leonard B. Blinn, . 
William L. Brown, 
Captain James T. Morgan, . 
Lieutenant William H. Crawford 

" H. F. Meyer, . 

" D. O. Kelly, 
William A. Worl, 
'Major N. S. Marshall, . 
Captain J. C. Rollins, . 

" E. J. Mathewson, . 
Lieutenant H. H. Mosely, . 
Adjutant William S. Marshall, 
Lieutenant Henry F. Cowles, . 
Adjutant Guy Bryan, . 
Captain William L. Gray, . 
Lieutenant John H. Stevens, 
Thomas C. Wentworth, 
Captain L. C. Bisbee, . 

" F. M. Shoemaker, . 
Charles G. Peterson, . 
Lieutenant David Whiston, . 

" Samuel E. Cary, 
Lieutenant George Halpin, . 

" Horace Gamble, 
Lieut. -Colonel Jere. Williams, 
Captain J. E. Woodward, . 
Lieutenant Israel N. Kibbee, 
Adam H. Lindsay, 

72d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
107th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

1st Virginia Cavalry. 

151st Pennsj^vania Volunteers. 

100th Ohio Volunteers. 
5th Indiana Volunteers. 
5th Iowa Volunteers. 
8th Tennessee Cavalry. 
18th Connecticut Vohmteers. 
25th Ohio Volunteers. 
51st Indiana Volunteers. 
18th Connecticut Volunteers. 
8th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
151st Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
5th Maine. 

100th Ohio Volunteers. 

13th Massachusetts Volunteers. 

llGth Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
7od Indiana Volunteers. 



Captain James A. Penfield, 

" S. B. Ryder, . 

" William D. Lucas, . 
Francis McKeag, . 
M. V. B. Tiffany, . 
Captain E. A. Sbeppard, 

" J. G. Weld, . 

" J.B.Fay, . . 

" Edward Porter, 
Lieutenant C. G. Stevens, . 
Captain J. Riley Stone, 
Lieutenant Theo. Kendall, . 
John W. Right, . 
Lieutenant J. O. Rockwell, 
Samuel H. Erving, 
James H. Cain, . 
Lieutenant Frank Moran, . 
" James Heslet, . 
Samuel H. Treasonthick, . 
Captain J. D. Phelps, . 

" Adolph Kulin, 
John L. Brown, . 
Lieutenant Lewis Thompson, 
Major W. B. Neeper, . 
Lieutenant G. A. Potter, 
Captain Jno. A. Arthur, 

" Jno. Craig, 
Lieutenant Edwd. E. Andrews, 
Captain J. P. Cummins, 
Lieutenant R. Gates, . 

" Jerry Mooney, . 
J. W. Steele, 

Lieutenant William G. Purnell, 
Captain R. O. Ives, 
^ieut. -Colonel C. H. Morton, 
Major J. R. Muhleman, 
Lieutenant Ed. Knoble, 

*^ David Garbit, . 

5th New York Cavalry. 

154th New York Volunteers. 

5th United States Cavalry. 
57th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

1st Virginia Volunteers. 

9th Maryland Volunteers. 
18th United States Infantry. 
107th Pennsylvania Volunteers 

5th Maryland Volunteers. 
10th Massachusetts Volunteers. 



Major Alex. Phillips, . 
Captain William A. Collins, 
Lieutenant John W. Worth, 
Major J. P. Collins, 
Captain T. Clark, 
Lieutenant George Harris, . 

" Lester D. Phelps, 

" Otho P. Fairfield, 

Captain William A. Robinson, 
" William L. Hubbell, 
" Milton Russell, 
Lieutenant William A. Adair 

" J. D. Hig-gins, . 
Captain John Birch, . 

" Jno. A. Scammahorn, 
Lieutenant Martin Flick 

" W. Wilson, 

" M. Fellows, 
Isaac Johnson, . 
Captain C. H. Riggs, . 
Lieutenant Harry Wilson, . 

" Fred. J. Brownell, 

" William H. Harvey, 
Captain Jno. F. Randolph, . 
Lieut. -Col. Gustav Von Helmrich 
Captain Newton C. Pace, . 
Major E. N. Bates, 
Lieut.-Colonel A. F. Rodgers. 

*' Ezra D. Carpenter 

Adjutant Charles N. Winner, 
Lieutenant Charles M. Gross, 
Major Josiah Hall, 
Captain E. Dillingham, 

" William N. Beeman, 
Lieutenant Lewis C. Mead, . 
Captain William H. Bender, 
Lieutenant Jacob S. Devine, 

" J. Riley Weaver, 

77th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

5th Maryland Volunteers. 
29th Indiana Volunteers. 
79th Illinois Volunteers. 

8th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 

17th Connecticut Volunteers. 

149th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
United States Navy. 
133d Ohio Volunteers. 
18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 

4th Missouri Cavalry. 

1st Ohio Volunteers. 
110th Ohio Volunteers. 
1st Vermont Cavalry. 

22d Michigan Volunteers. 
133d Ohio Volunteers. 
71st Pennsylvania Volunteeri 
18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 



Adjutant A. S. Mathews, 
Captain A. W. Kceler, 
'* E. ]\L Driscoll, 
Lieutenant John C. Roney, 

" George W. Fish. 
Lieutenant F. B. Stevenson, 

" James H. Murdock, . 

" E. E. Sharp, 

" C. L. L-win, 

" Charles Trownsell, . 

" David S. Bartram, . 

" A. K. Dunkle, . 

" Geo. L. Snyder, . 

Captain James A. Coffin, . 

", H. C. McQuiddy, . 

Lieutenant A. A. Taylor, . 

" Frank A. M. Kreps, . 

" Geo. L. Sellers, . 
Lieut. -Colonel J. P. Spofford, 
Captain John McMahon, . 
" Solomon G. Hamlin, 
Edward L. Haines, 
Captain John G. Whiteside, 
Lieutenant Edwin Tuthill, . 

" Thomas W. Johnston, 

" James J. Higginson, . 
Captain H. G. White, . 
Lieutenant J. H. Russell. . 

" William T. Wheeler, . 

" Isaac Ludlow, . 
P. H. White, .... 
Lieutenant J. T. Magiunis, . 
Adjutant R. C. Knaggs, 

V. R. Davis, 

R. W. Anderson, .... 
Captain John B. McRoberts, 
Robert H. Montgomery, 
Captain John E. Page, 

22d Michigan Volunteers. 

3d Ohio Volunteers. 

3d Ohio Volunteers. 

51st Indiana Volunteers. 
7Sth Illinois Volunteers. 
8th Ohio Volunteers. 
ISth Connecticut Volunteers. 
114th Pennsylvania Volunteers 
104th New York Volunteers. 
157th New York Volunteers. 
'/Sd Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
122d Ohio Volunteers. 
77th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
9th Indiana Volunteers. 
97th New York Volunteers. 
94th New York Volunteers. 
134th New York Volunteers. 
United States Navy. 
94th New York Volunteers. 
104th New York Volunteers. 
10th New York Cavalry. 

94th New York Volunteers. 
12th Massachusetts Volunteers. 

3d United States Artillery. 

18th Connecticut Volunteers. 



Lieutenant J. L. Powers, . 
Lieut.-Colonel S. M. Archer, 

" H. M. Anderson, . 

Captain S. O. Pool, . 

" J. R. Day, 

« V. K. Hart, . 
Lieutenant William Nelson, 
Captain W. W. Hunt, . 

" W. W. Scearce, . 
Lieut.-Colonel D. A. McHollancl, 

" John Egen, . 

Major G. M. Van Buren, 
Lieutenant Thos. S. Armstrong, . 
Captain Sidney B. King, 
Lieutenant Harry Temple, . 
Captain Edward. P. Boas, . 
Lieutenant Charles D. Henry, 
Captain John Cutter, . 
Captain J. A. Rufleld, . 

" James F. Jennings, 

" Adam R. Eglin, . 

" Geo. W. Greene, . 
Lieutenant Jos. Wilshire, . 
" J. Gilbert Blue, . 
Captain Geo. L. Schell, 

" James Gait, . 

" Benj. F. Campbell, 

Lieutenant John A. Francis, 

" C. W. Pavey, . 

Captain Edward A. Tobes, . 

" George R. Lodge, . 
Lieutenant Alfred Gude, 
Captain Willington Willits, 

" William H. Smyth, 

Lieutenant John T. Mackey, 

" John C. Norcross, 

" Jerry Keniston, . 

" Samuel Koach, . 

157th New York Volunteers. 
17th Iowa Volunteers. 

154th New York Volunteers. 
3d Maine Volunteers. 
19th United States Infantry. 
13th United States Infantry. 
100th Ohio Volunteers. 

51st Indiana Volunteers. 
69th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
6th New York Cavalry. 
132d Ohio Volunteers. 
12th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
2d New York Cavalry. 
20th Illinois Volunteers. 
4th Ohio Volunteers. 
34th Ohio Volunteers. 
5th New York Cavalry. 
45th Ohio Volunteers. 

19th Indiana Volunteers. 

3d Ohio Volunteers. 

88th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

36th Illinois Volunteers. 
18th Connecticut Volunteers. 
80th Illinois Volunteers. 

53d Illinois Volunteers. 

51st Indiana Volunteers. 

7th Michigan Cavalry. 

16th United States Infantry. 
(( a a ii 

2d Massachusetts Cavalry. 
100th Illinois Infantry. 



Lieutenant F. A. Lakin, 
Captain W. F. Pickerill, . 
Lieut. -Colonel A. P. Henry, 
Major W. N. Owens, . 
Captain D. L. Wright, . 
" Horace Noble, 
Lieutenant Alexander H. "White 

" C.L. Anderson, . 

" E. McBaron Timoney 

" M. Morris, . 
Lieutenant Stiles H. Boughton, 

" James McKinley, 

" M. Cohen, . 

" R. Curtis, . 

" Ara C. Spofford, 

" John V. Patterson, 

" Edgar J. Higby, 
Adjutant John W. Thomas, 
Lieutenant Martin V. Dickey, 
Captain D. W. Olcott, . 
Lieutenant A. J. Teeter, 

" W. B. Cook, 

Captain George A. Crocker, 

" Frank R. Josselyn, 

" Jacob Remie, . 

" Samuel E. Cary, . 

Adjutant James Gilmore, . 

Lieutenant Joseph Kerrin, . 

" B. H. Herkness, 

" F. Harry Stewart, 

" L. S. Smith, 

" John King, 

" Frank T. Bennett, 

Captain W. H. Douglass, . 

'-' John Cari'ol, . 

" Fred. Nemmert, 

" A. H. Wonder, 

Lieutenant Thomas G. Good, 

18th Indiana Volunteers. 
5th Iowa Infantry. 

15th United States Infantry. 
93d Illinois Infantry. 

4th Kentucky Cavalry. 
21st Ohio Volunteers. 

33d Ohio Volunteers. 

2d Ohio Volunteers. 

2d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 

134th New York Volunteers. 

2d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 

140th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

6th New York Cavalry. 

11th Massachusetts Volunteers. 

79th New York Volunteers. 
6th United States Cavalry. 
6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
5th Maryland Volunteers. 
14th New York Cavalay. 
15th Illinois Cavalry. 
18th United States Infantry. 

51st Indiana Volunteers. 
Ist Maryland Cavalry. 



Lieutenant Thomas B. Dewees, , 

'' H. Moulton, 

" Thomas A. Worthen, 
Captain G. C. Urwiler, 
Lieutenant A. K. Wolback, 
Captain Henry Hescock, 
John S. Planning, 
Lieutenant David R. Lock, 
Captain W. F. Conrad, 
Lieutenant D. C. Dillon, 

" John S. Mahoney, . 
Lieut. -Colonel Monroe Nichols, . 
Lieutenant George Rings, 
Major A. McMahan, . 
Lieutenant M. V.B. Callahan, 
Captain D. D. Smith, . 
Lieutenant E. J. Davis, 

" Joseph Smith, 

" Emory W. Pelton, 

" W. A. Merry, 

" C. Poller Stroman. 
Captain Bryant Grafton, 
Lieutenant T. Fowler, . 
Adjutant L. W. Sutherland, 
Lieutenant A. G. Griffin, 
Captain J. E. Wilkins, 
Robert T. Fisher, . 
Colonel W. T. Wilson, 
Lieutenant B. F. Blair, 
Captain J. C. Hagenbush, 
Lieutenant R. O. Knowles, 

" C. E. Harrison, 

" J. R. Men, . 

" Z. R. Prather, 
G. W. Moore, 
Lieutenant W. L. Ritilly, 
Captain J. W. Easier, . 
Lieutenant M. C. Causten, 

2d United States Cavalry. 

1st " 

118th Illinois Volunteers. 

67th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

8d Ohio Volunteers. 

1st Missouri Artillery. 

8th Kentucky Cavalry. 
25th Iowa Volunteers. 
7th Iowa Volunteers. 
21st Ohio Volunteers. 
18th Connecticut Volunteers. 
100th Ohio Volunteers. 
21st Ohio Volunteers. 

1st Alabama Cavalry. 

44th Illinois Volunteers. 

67th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

2d Maryland Volunteers. "" 

106th New York Volunteers. 

87th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

64th Ohio Volunteers. 

67th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

126th Ohio Volunteers. 

112th Illinois Volunteers. 

123d Ohio Volunteers. 

67th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
116th Ohio Volunteers. 
89th Ohio Volunteers. 
51st Ohio Volunteers. 
116th Illinois Volunteers. 

51st Ohio Volunteers. 
42d Illinois Volunteers. 
19th United States Infantry. 



Lieut. -Colonel H. B. Hunter, 
Major T. B. Kogers, . 
Lieutenant George H. Morrisey, 
Captain P. H. Hart, 
Lieutenant D. C. Dillon, 
Captain G. M. White, . ' . 
Lieutenant G. W. Hale, 

" Hanson P. Jordan, 
*' George F. Robinson, 
" W. J. M. Conuelee, 
" Andrew Stoll, . 
*' P. Hagan, . 

" G. B. Coleman, . 

" M. H. Smith, . 
Captain D. H. Mull, . 
Lieutenant A.. N. Thomas, . 
Captain W. M. Cockrum, . 
Lieutenant F. B. Colver, 
" Isaa^ Hull, . 
" DeFontaine, 
" V F. L. Schyler, . 
" S. Leith, . 
" A. W. Locklin, . 
" H. H. Hinds, . 
Captain John F. Porter, Jr., 
*' John A. Ptussell, . 
" John C. Shroed, . 
Lieutenant James Carothers, 
Ensign Simon H. Strunk, . 
Lieutenant W. H. McDill, . 
" A. G. Scranton, . 
Lieut. -Colonel R. Von Schrader, 
Irenus McGowan, 
Lieutenant Thomas W. Boyce, 
" R. J. Harmer, . 
«' Louis R. Fortescue, 
" J. L. Leslie, 
Captain O. H. Rosenbaum, . 

133 Ohio Volunteers. 

140th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

12th Iowa Volunteers. 

19th Indiana Volunteers. 

7th Iowa Volunteers. 

1st Virginia Volunteers. 

101st Ohio Volunteers. 

9th Indiana Volunteers. 

80th Ohio Volunteers. 

4tli Iowa Volunteers. 

7th United States Cavalry. 

7th Maryland Volunteers. 

6th United Stales Vol. Cavalry. 

123d Ohio Volunteers. 

42d Indiana Volunteers. 
123d Ohio Volunteers. 

73d Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
123d Ohio Volunteers. 
132d New York Volunteers. 
94th New York Volunteers. 
57th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
14th N. Y. Cavalry. 
93d Illinois Volunteers. 

78th Ohio Volunteers. 
United States Navy. 

18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
123d Ohio Volunteers. 



Lieutenant William Willis, . 
Captain William A. Swayze, 
Lieutenant O. P. Barnes, . 

" A. M. Stark, . . 
Adjutant S. B. Piper, . 
Captain H. P. Wands, . 

" J. Marclie McComas, 
Lieutenant Lewis Drake, 
Captain J. DeWitt Whiting, 
Lieutenant W. A. Curry, 
Captain John C. Johnson, . 
Lieutenant Gideon T. Hand, 

'' Charles F. Barclay, 
Adjutant Melville K. Small, 
Lieutenant A. T. Lamson, . 
Adjutant N. McEvoy, . 
Lieutenant H. C. Potter, 
Captain H. C. White, . 
Lieutenant Francis Murphy, 
Captain Milton Ewing, 
Lieutenant Henry C. Taylor, 
Captain George W. Warner, 
Colonel Heber LeFavour, . 
Lieutenant Henry T. Anschutz, 
Lieut.-Col. James H. Wing, 
Major B. B. McDonald, 
Lieutenant John Sterling, . 
Captain A. G. Hamilton, 

" McCaslin Moore, . 
Lieutenant Eli Foster, • 
Lieut.-Colonel David Miles, 
Captain A. J. Bigelow, 

" John F. Gallagher, 
Lieutenant Thos. G. Cochran, 
Captain Thomas Handy, 
Lieutenant E. C. Gordon, . 

" Alfred S. Cooper, 

" G. D. Bisbee, . 

51st Indiana Volunteers. 
3d Ohio Volunteers. 
3d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
Q. M. 110th Ohio Volunteer Inf. 
3d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
22d Michigan Volunteers. 
9th Missouri Volunteers. 
22d Michigan Volunteers. 
3d Ohio Volunteers. 
3d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
149th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
51st Indiana Volunteers. 
149th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
6th Maryland Cavalry. 
104th New Tork Volunteers. 
3d Illinois Cavalry. 
18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 
94th New York Volunteers. 
97th New York Volunteers. 
21st Wisconsin Volunteers. 
21st Wisconsin Volunteers. 
18th Connecticut Volunteers. 
22d Michigan Volunteers. 
12th Virginia Volunteers. 
3d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
30th Indiana Volunteers. 
12th Kentucky Cavalry. 
29th Indiana Volunteers. 
oOth Indiana Volunteers. 
79th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
79th Illinois Volunteers. 
2d Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
77th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
79th Illinois Volunteers. 

9th Indiana Volunteers. 
16th Maine Volunteers. 



Lie^^tenant Abraham Allee, . 

E. G Dayton, 

Lieutenant D. M. V. Stuart, 

" H. S. Murdock, . 

" G. W. Moore, . 

" H. H. Fillotson, 

" C. M. Prutsman, 
Captain Samuel McKee, 
Lieutenant Jos. F. Carter, . 

•' James Weatlierbee, 

" Eobert Huey, 

" A. B. Alger, 
Major T. B. Rogers, 
Lieutenant George W. Bulton, 

" William H. Locke, 
Lieutenant M. B. Helms, 

" E. J. Gorgas, . 

" Ira Tyler, . 
Captain F. Irsch, . 

" L. T. Borchiss, 
" G. A. Manning, 
" J. W. Whelan, 
Major J. C. Edmonds, . 
" H. B. Keeper, . 
Captain F. B. Doteu, . 

ICth Illinois Cavalry. 
United States Navy. 
10th Missouri Infantry. 
73d Indiana Volimteers. 

73d Indiana Volunteers. 

7th Wisconsin Volunteers. 

14th Kentucky Cavalry. 

9th jNIaryland Volunteers. 

51st Ohio Volunteers. 

2d E. Tennessee Volunteers. 

22d Ohio Volunteers. 

140th Pennsylvania Volunteers 

22d Michigan Volunteers. 

1st Virginia Volunteers. 
Co. A. 90th Regt. Penn. Vols. 
7th Maryland Volunteers. 
45th New York Volunteers. 
67th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
2d Massachusetts Cavalry. 
A. A. G. 

32d Massachusetts Volunteers. 
57th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 
14th Connecticut Volunteers. 




The hole in the Flo 

By Lieut-Col. F. F. Cavada, U. S. V. 




Five for a Dollar "